Mammalian Biology

, Volume 69, Issue 2, pp 96–107 | Cite as

Home range size and social organisation of black-footed cats (Felis nigripes)

  • Alexander SliwaEmail author
Original investigation


A total of 17 black-footed cats (7 males, 10 females) were studied by telemetry and direct observation on a game farm near Kimberley, South Africa. Total annual ranges of five adult resident males averaged 20.7 km2 (100% Minimum Convex Polygon (MCP100)) or 16.1 km2 (95% MCP = MCP95) incorporating all fixes taken, and were significantly larger than the annual ranges of seven adult females with 10 km2 (MCP100) or 8.6 km2 (MCP95). Male seasonal ranges were significantly larger than those of all females. Adult resident males overlapped with up to four female’s ranges and encompassed on average 66.7% of each females’ range during winter 1997 or 60.2% during summer 1998, respectively. Intrasexual overlap in the 1998 summer non-mating season was slight for adult males (12.9% for MCP100, n = 3) but was considerable for females (40.4% for MCP100, n = 5). The range of one female lay entirely within the home range of another, but despite this overlap all black-footed cats hunted solitarily. Consecutive calculated seasonal range centres of black-footed cats shifted by 835 ± 414 m and MCP95 ranges were overlapped by the next season’s range by 68 ± 11%, and were thus relatively stable. The population density for the 60 km2 study area in summer 1998 was 0.17 adult cats/km2.

Key words

Felis nigripes home range social Organisation 

Streifgebietsgröße und soziale Organisation von Schwarzfußkatzen (Felis nigripes)


Insgesamt 17 Schwarzfußkatzen (7 Kuder, 10 Katzen) wurden auf einer Wildtierfarm in der Nördlichen Kapprovinz, Südafrika, durch telemetrische und direkte Beobachtung untersucht. Die durchschnittliche jährliche Streifgebietsgröße von fünf ausgewachsenen residenten Kudern betrug 20,7 km2 (100% Minimum Konvex Polygon (MCP100)) oder 16,1 km2 (95% = MCP95), wobei alle LokaLisierungen verwendet wurden, und waren damit signifikant größer als die jährlichen Streifgebiete sieben erwachsener Weibchen mit 10 km2 (MCP100) oder 8,6 km2 (MCP95). Auch die saisonalen Streifgebiete von Kudern waren signifikant größer als die der Weibchen. Erwachsene residente Kuder überlappten die Streifgebiete von bis zu vier Weibchen, jeweils durchschnittlich 66,7% des Streifgebiets jedes Weibchens während des Winters 1997 oder 60,2% im Sommer 1998. Überlappung innerhalb des gleichen Geschlechts außerhalb der Paarungszeit im Sommer 1998 war für erwachsene Kuder nur gering (12,9% MCP100, n = 3), aber beträchtlich bei den Weibchen (40,4 für MCP100. n = 5). Das Gebiet eines Weibchens lag vollständig in dem eines anderen, abertrotz all dieser Überlappungen jagten Schwarzfußkatzen allein. Aufeinanderfolgende saisonale Streifgebietszentren von Schwarzfußkatzen bewegten sich durchschnittlich um 835 ± 414 m und die MCP95 Streifgebiete wurden von den Gebieten der darauffolgenden Saison zu 68 ± 11% überlappt und waren damit relativ stabil. Die Populationsdichte für das 60 km2 große Studiengebiet wurde auf 0,17 erwachsene Katzen/km2 geschätzt.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Acocks, J. H. P. (1988): Veld types of South Africa. Mem. Bot. Survey S. Afr. 40, 1–128.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, E. M. (1987): A critical review and annotated bibliography of literature on the bobcat. Colorado Division of Wildlife, Special Report 62, 1–61.Google Scholar
  3. Bailey. T.N. (1993): The African Leopard: a study of the ecology and behaviour of a soli-tary felid. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bothma, J. du P. (1998): Carnivore Ecology in Arid Lands. Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bothma, J. du P.; Knight. M. H.; le Ri-che, E. A. N.; van Hensbergen, H. J. (1997): Range size of southern Kalahari leopards. S. A. J. Wildl. Res 27, 94–99.Google Scholar
  6. Corbett, L. K. (1979): Feeding ecology and social Organisation of wildcats (Felis silvestris) and domestic cats (Felis catus). Diss. thesis, Aberdeen University, U. K.Google Scholar
  7. Crawshaw, P. G. (1995): Comparative ecology of ocelot (Felis pardalis) and Jaguar (Panthern onca) in a protected subtropical forest in Bra-zil and Argentina. Diss. thesis, University of Florida.Google Scholar
  8. Dunstone, N.; Durbin, L.; Wyllie, L.; Freer, R.; Jamett, G. A.; Mazoixi, M.; Rose, S. (2002): Spatial Organization, ranging behaviour and habitat use of the kodkod (Oncifelis guigna) in southern Chile. J. Zool. (London) 257, 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Emmons, L. H. (1988): A field study of ocelots (Felis pardalis) in Peru. Rev. Ecol. (Terre Vie) 43, 133–157.Google Scholar
  10. Fuler, T. K.; Biknevicius, A. R.; Kat, R W. (1988): Home rage of an African wildcat Felis silvestris (Schreber) near Elmenteita, Ken-ya. Z. Säugetierkunde 53, 380–381.Google Scholar
  11. Geertsema, A. A. (1985): Aspects of the ecology of the serval Leptailurus serval in the Ngoron-goro crater, Tanzania. Neth. J. Zool 35, 527–610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Grassman, L. I. (2000): Movement and diet of the leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis in a seasonal evergreen forest in south-central Thailand. Acta Theriol. 45, 421–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hall, H. T.; Newsom, J. D. (1976): Summer home ranges and movements of bobcats in bottom-land hardwoods of southern Louisiana. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast Assoc. Fish and Wildl. Agencies 30, 422–436.Google Scholar
  14. Harris, S.; Cresswell, W. J.; Forde, P. G.; Tre-whella, W. I.; Woollard, T.; Wray, S. (1990): Home ränge analysis using radio-tracking data - a review of problems and techniques particularly as applied to the study of mam-mals. Mamm. Rev. 20, 97–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Johnson, W E.; Franklin, W L. (1991): Feeding and spatial ecology of Felis geoffroyi in Southern Patagonia. J. Mammalogy 72, 815–820.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kenward, R. E. (1987): Wildlife Radio Tagging. Equipment, field techniques and data analysis. London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  17. Kenward, R. E. (1996): Ranges V. An Analysis System for Biological Location Data. Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Furzebrook Research Station, Dorset, UK.Google Scholar
  18. Kitchener, A. (1991): The Natural History of the Wild Cats. London: Christopher Helm.Google Scholar
  19. Konecny, M. J. (1989): Movement patterns and food habits of four sympatric carnivore spe-cies in Belize, Central America. In: Advances in Neotropical Mammalogy. Ed. by K. H. Redford and J. F. Eisenberg. Gainesville, Florida: Sandhill Crane Press.Google Scholar
  20. Logan, K. A.; Sweanor, L.L. (2001): Desert Puma: evolutionary ecology and conservation of an enduring carnivore. Washington: Island Press.Google Scholar
  21. Ludlow, M. E.; Sunquist, M. E. (1987): Ecology and behaviour of ocelots in Venezuela. Nat. Geo. Res. 3, 447–461.Google Scholar
  22. Mohr, C. O. (1947): Table of equivalent popula-tions of North American small mammals. Am. Midi. Nat. 37, 223–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Molteno, A. I.; Sliwa, A.; Richardson, P. R. K. (1998): The role of scent marking in a free-ranging, female black-footed cat (Felis ni-gripes). J. Zool. (London) 245, 35–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Noweix, K.; Jackson, F. (1996): Wild cats: Status survey and conservation action plan. Gland: IUCNGoogle Scholar
  25. Ulbricht, G.; Sliwa, A. (1997): In situ and ex situ observations and management of Black-footed cats Felis nigripes. Int. Zoo Yb. 35, 81–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rabinowitz, A. (1990): Notes on the behaviour and movements of leopard cats, Felis benga-lensis, in a dry tropical forest mosaic in Thailand. Biotropica 22, 397–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sandell, M. (1989): The mating tactics and spa-cing patterns of solitary carnivores. In: Carnivore Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution. Ed. by I. L. Gittleman. New York: Cornell Uni-versity Press. Pp. 164–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Schulze, R. E.; McGee, O. S. (1978): Climatic in-dices and classifications in relation to the bio-geography of southern Africa. In: Biogeogra-phy and Ecology of South Africa. Ed. by M. J. A. Werger and W. Junk: The Hague. Pp. 19–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Seidensticker, J. C.; Hornocker, M. G.; Wiles, W.V.; Messick. J. R. (1973): Mountain lion social Organisation in the Idaho Primitive Area. Wildl. Monogr. 35, 1–60.Google Scholar
  30. Siegel, S. (1956): Nonparametric Statistics for the Behavioural Sciences. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  31. Skinner, J. D.; Smithers, R. H. N (1990): The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion. Pretoria: University of Pretoria.Google Scholar
  32. Sliwa, A. (1994): Diet and feeding behaviour of the black-footed cat (Felis nigripes Burchell, 1824) in the Kimberley Region, South Africa. Zool. Garten 64, 83–96.Google Scholar
  33. Sliwa, A. (1996): A functional analysis of scent marking and mating behaviour in the aard-wolf, Proteles cristatus (Sparrman, 1783). Diss. thesis, University of Pretoria.Google Scholar
  34. Sliwa, A.; Richardson, R R. K. (1998): Re-sponses of aardwolves (Proteles cristatus, Sparrman 1783) to translocated scent marks. Anim. Behav. 56, 137–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Smithers, R. H. N (1971): The Mammals of Botswana. Salisbury: Trustees of the National Museum.Google Scholar
  36. Smithers, R. H. N (1983): The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion. Pretoria: University of Pretoria Press.Google Scholar
  37. Stahl, R.; Artois. M.; Aubert, M. F. A. (1988): Organisation spatiale et deplacements des Chats forestiers adultes (Felis silvestris Schre-ber, 1777) en Lorraine. Terre et Vie 43, 113–132.Google Scholar
  38. Sunquist, M. E. (1981): The social Organisation of tigers (Panthera tigris) in Royal Chitawan National Park, Nepal. Smithsonian Contribu-tions to Zoology 336, 1–98.Google Scholar
  39. Tewes, M. E. (1986): Ecological and behavioral correlates of ocelot spatial patterns. Diss. thesis, University of Idaho.Google Scholar
  40. Van Heezik. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. (1998): Range size and habitat use of an adult male caracal in northern Saudi Arabia. J. Arid Environm. 40, 109–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Zezulak, D. S.; Schwab, R. G. (1979): A compari-son of density, home range and habitat utiliza-tion of bobcat populations at Lava Beds and Joshua Tree National Monuments, California. Bobcat Res. Conf. Proc, Nat. Wildl. Fed. Scient. Tech. Ser. 6, 74–79.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.McGregor MuseumKimberleyRepublic of South Africa
  2. 2.Zoologischer Garten WuppertalWuppertalGermany

Personalised recommendations