The Iriomote cat (Prionailurus iriomotensis) is a feline relatively similar in size to the typical domestic house cat, except it has cute short legs and a thick, bushy tail. Oh, and unlike the domestic house cat, they’re also one of the worlds most critically endangered and rarest species.. Or subspecies, since it’s argued whether they’re a subspecies of the leopard cat.. They potentially separated genetically around 200,000 years ago.
Endemic to the Iriomotejima Island in Japan, they prefer to live in more coastal areas opposed to mountainous areas. Their meals consist of a variety of wildlife like rats, bats.. Yes I know, I’m a poet.. birds, reptiles, and insects. Fish and crabs are also finding their way into the Iriomote cat’s stomach, since they’re impeccable swimmers and top notch predators.
Breeding is common during February-March but can occur throughout the year. With a gestation period of up to 70 days, an extreme variation from 1 to 8 kittens has been recorded per liter. Their youngin’ mature in as little as 8 months, and spend the remaining 10 years of their life on their own.
..If there’s any youngins in the first place, since less than 100 of these felines roam Japan today. Hybrids with feral cats, small range, and increasing human population has all lead up to this incredibly low population. With no captive cats, Japan has had to make them a fully protected species, otherwise we’d find them extinct quite soon. Funds like the Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund are attempting to spread awareness and conserve this species in order to ensure their survival.