Hmph. Bunnies. Who needs bunnies for Easter when you can have kitties?

The Rusty-spotted Cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) is one of the smallest species of felid in the world. It can be found only in India and Sri Lanka, and is considered to be Vulnerable by the IUCN, as the effective population is no more than 10,000, and the population trend is in decline. No known subpopulation contains more than 1,000 cats.

The Rusty-spotted Cat is similar in size to the Black-footed Cat. It can grow up to 19 inches (48 cm) in body length, with a 12-inch (30 cm) tail. At most, they can weigh 3.5 pounds (1.6 Kg). They get their name from their rust-colored spots that stand out against their grayish fur. They prefer to live in areas where there is dense vegetation for cover, like forests that are both dry and wet, grasslands, and scrub.

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There are two recognized subspecies of Rusty-spotted Cat:

  • Prionailurus rubiginosus rubiginosus (India)
  • Prionailurus rubiginosus phillipsi (Sri Lanka)

They have been widely observed in India, when they were once thought to be found only in the southern part of the country. But they have been spotted in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries all over. Rusty-spotted Cats are nocturnal, sleeping under cover of vegetation before venturing out after dark to hunt rodents, birds, insects, lizards and amphibians.

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Mating sessions are brief when female Rusty-spotted Cats are in season, due to the fact that they are vulnerable to larger predators at this time. After a 70-day gestation period, they will give birth to a litter of one to two kittens in a secluded den that the mother prepares ahead of time. Kittens will reach full maturity after a little over a year, and they are known to live for about 12 years in captivity.

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The most serious threat faced by the Rusty-spotted cat is loss of habitat due to deforestation and cultivation of their range.