Did you know the Black-footed Cat in Namibia is threatened by extinction?

If you haven’t heard about this wild cat before, the Black-footed Cat is the smallest wildcat species in Africa. And while most conservation programmes focus on big cats, this little guy is under just as much threat.

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It may look like an adorable house cat, but rest assured this little beast can take care of itself. The Felisnigripes only stands about 20cm tall and weighs around 1-2.5kg. They have soft dark-goldish fur with a spotted pattern across their bodies. Usually they have two dark streaks across their cheeks and dark striping across their legs.

These little creatures have adapted to the desert lifestyle. Their broad skull and large ears allow them enhanced hearing to find prey in a scarce region. And they have hair on the soles of their paws to protect them from the heat of the sand.

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Found mostly in Namibia, South Africa and Botswana, the Black-footed cat prefers grass plains, sand plains, and scrub desert, including the Kalahari and Karoo Deserts. Legends have claimed that these little cats can bring down a giraffe. Obviously it is not true, but it does reflect the great determination of these felines.

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While the cats are usually solitary animals, females and dependent kittens do stay together for a while. Kittens stick with their mothers for up to four months and stick to their mom’s vicinity for quite some time thereafter.

Image result for black footed cat kitten

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The major threat to these little cats includes overgrazing livestock. This reduces their availability of prey. Poison in carcasses, as these creatures scavenge like jackals. The public is also encouraged not to keep these cats as pets. They are wild animals after all.

Image result for black footed cat hunting

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When visiting the Kalahari Anib Lodge, keep an eye out for these awesome creatures.

If you have any information or stories on the Black-footed Cat, we invite you to share them in the comment section below.

Author – Jescey Visagie is a proud Namibian and is passionate about writing and language. Tag along for the ride as she tries to uncover new insights into Namibia and explores what the country has to offer.

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What can be found at Otjihaenamparero in Namibia?

Otjihaenamparero is a farm about 20 kilometres outside of Kalkveld, Namibia. Interestingly enough, this site was declared a National Monument in 1951.

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Rights to dinosaurstracks-guestfarm

Why? Because on this farmstead visitors will find 160-million-year-old dinosaur footprints.

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Rights to uniterre.com

As far as research has been able to determine, about 200 million years ago southern Africa was filled with various prehistoric reptiles. It would seem that these creatures walked on their two hind legs and therefore left three-toed foot prints in the sandstone.

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Rights to flickr com

A sign at the site explains that the footprints were most likely left on wet soil or along the banks of a lake.

As time passed the tracks were covered by a layer of sediment and eventually hardened to stone. Once preserved, years of erosion has brought the unique tracks back to the surface.

Right to Pinterest

Right to Pinterest

It becomes even more interesting once location comes to mind. In northern Namibia, large two legged dinosaurs were once found. And in the south, the fossils of a Mesosaurus has been found.

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Rights to Wikipedia

 

 

Rights to Prehistoric Wildlife

Rights to Prehistoric Wildlife

Two very different kinds of prehistoric creatures. This may give some idea of how different the land structure was 200 million years ago.

For a fee of N20.00 the public can visit the special place, where the past has left a permanent footprint on the present.

This is also a great location to visit on your way to the Etosha National Park. Where the Gondwana Collection has two great properties on offer, Etosha Safari Lodge and Etosha Safari Camp.

If you have any information about the Otjihaenamparerodino-tracks, we invite you to share them with us in the comment section below.

Author – Jescey Visagie is a proud Namibian and is passionate about writing and language. Tag along for the ride as she tries to uncover new insights into Namibia and explores what the country has to offer.

Jescey Visagie

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Why does the Namib Sand Gecko have webbed feet?

If you have been to Namibia, or planning a trip, add this little guy to your bucket list. The Namib Sand Gecko, web-footed gecko, or Pachydactylus rangei, was first described in 1908 by a Swedish Zoologist named L.G. Andersson. These small creatures were first discovered by German geologist, Dr Paul Range.

Namib Sand Gecko - Image: Pinterest

Namib Sand Gecko – Image: Pinterest

This interesting gecko is endemic to the Namib Desert and can grow up to thirteen centimetres in length, including a six-centimetre tail.This species can be found near the coast and up to 130 kilometres inland. Typically, you will find them in die Lüderitz area in southern Namibia.

Image: www.juzaphoto.com

Image: www.juzaphoto.com

They like living amongst underdeveloped vegetation and rocks, and of course the loose sand of the Namib dunes. In fact, they prefer the sandy habitat and are usually found in the coastal regions of Namibia. Sometimes also in the extreme northern regions of Namaqualand in the Cape, South Africa.

Image: Gondwana

What drew our attention to these little critters, is their unique look. They have slender little bodies and a flat, dorsal head. They have big, dark eyes with no eyelids. Instead their eyes are covered with a transparent scale.

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Image: Maurizio Lanini

The eyes’ size also helps the gecko detect prey.Their skin is almost transparent with a slightly salmon-coloured undertone and occasional brown stripes or patterns.

Image: traveller.com.au

Image: traveller.com.au

These colours offer great camouflage in the Namib Desert sand. Interestingly enough, the skin is so translucent that sometimes you can even see the gecko’s internal organs!

One of the gecko’s most interesting adaptations would probably be its feet. Why? Well, it has thin little legs and broad feet with webbed toes!

Image: Notes from the Namib WordPress.com

Image: Notes from the Namib WordPress.com

The webs allow for the species to burrow into the soft desert sand to avoid the harsh Namibian sun. And they also help the little guys to stay on top of the loose sand. The pads of the feet also have an adhesive component, to help them climb and run across the soft sand.

Image: Web-footed-Gecko-Pictures

Image: Web-footed-Gecko-Pictures

They tend to feed on crickets, grasshoppers and small arachnids. Sometimes they also lean toward beetles and other small insects that can be found in the sand.

Image: reptilefacts.tumblr.com

Image: reptilefacts.tumblr.com

Since these special little geckos are mostly found in the Lüderitz area, head down to Klein-Aus Vista and explore the region there. Remember that these are meant to live in the wild, respect their habitat at all times!

If you have any stories or information on the Namib Sand Gecko, we invite you to share them in the comment section below.

Author – Jescey Visagie is a proud Namibian and is passionate about writing and language. Tag along for the ride as she tries to uncover new insights into Namibia and explores what the country has to offer.

Jescey Visagie

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