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Endangered Asian Species : Flat-headed cat

Animal

Flat-headed cats, as the name implies, are cats that live in Malaysia. It is an endangered animal and lives not only in Malaysia but also in Indonesia, Thailand and Brunei. Known as a unique cat, it has webbed paws and a strange streamlined head, and prefers to swim in peat swamp forests. Cats are creatures that originated in the desert, but this cat can swim. As it is a rare aquatic cat, it is quite rare in the world. Flat-headed cats are animals of the “Mammalia Carnivora”. A cute cat that looks like an otter at first glance.

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Habitat

It inhabits Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei and Indonesia.

Characteristics

The biggest feature is that it is a cat that can swim. Flat-headed cats have webs on their paws and swim well. The coat on the back is dark brown with gray and pale yellow spots. It is 40-56 cm long and weighs 1.5-2.2 kg, and its head is slightly flat and slender. The forehead is flat. For this reason, it is called a “flat-headed cat” in English. Also, there is another difference from other cats. You can’t put all your nails away.

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Ecology

It is thought to inhabit places where water sources such as rivers are nearby, forests, and swamps. Actually, this cat is wild, so I don’t know much about its ecology. Flat-headed cats eat fish and crustaceans from the stomach contents of wild individuals because they can swim. Nocturnal and prefers alone. Little is known about breeding. It is only possible to give birth to one animal, and the detailed breeding time is unknown. Lifespan is recorded up to 14 years in captivity.

Endangered species

The number of habitats has decreased due to deforestation of habitats and pollution of swamps (due to pollution by oil and heavy metals). It is known that more than half of the lowlands where flat-headed cats live have been developed into vast cultivated land. As a result, the area where they can live has decreased dramatically. It is said that the current estimated number of survivors is less than 2500. Therefore, the flat-headed cat is designated as Endangered IB on the Red List.

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Conservation activities

Hunting and distribution in the habitat of flat-headed cats is now totally banned in Malaysia.

Breeding

It is quite difficult to raise a flat-headed cat due to the drastic decrease in the number of surviving cats. It’s hard to see even at the zoo, so I have no choice but to travel to Southeast Asia to see it.

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