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This Cute And Cuddly African Cat Has A Deadly Secret

    Lions, and tigers, and black-footed cats, oh my! This may not be the familiar saying in most parts of the world, but in Africa, the Felis nigripis is a species to be avoided at all costs. Though these creatures resemble common housecats, these tiny fluff-balls are one of the deadliest cats in the world — and their weapon isn’t cuteness.

    Where To Find This Feline

    Philadelphia Zoo
    The Felis nigripes — better known as the black-footed cat — doesn’t seem so terrifying at first glance, but those living in proximity to it know just how dangerous it can be to the prey who get caught in its line of sight. These feisty felines can be found in South Africa, Botswana, Nambia, and Zimbabwe… but you’d be better off it you don’t go searching for them.

    Small But Very, Very Mighty

    Philadelphia Zoo
    Weighing in at three-to-five pounds, these little felines don’t look like the type to pack a punch. In fact, they are in the running for the smallest wild cat in the world. How much harm could such a little creature cause? Don’t mistake their tinyness for weakness. These cats were born to be wild, and much of what makes them so endearing is also what helps them survive, thrive, and fight.

    An Assassin In Disguise

    Karoo Cats
    Their name is a bit misleading — the only part of the cat’s paws which are black are the pads on the bottom. However, its tawny fur is covered in black and brown markings, and unlike house cats, these markings are key to their adaptability in the wild. These stripes help it camouflage with its surroundings, allowing it to hide from predators, sneak up on prey, and thrive in its environment.

    What These Executioners Call Home

    Alamy/Legion Media
    These nocturnal, angel-faced predators thrive in deserts, savannahs, and any other place dry and barren. They cleverly adapt to what is around them, utilizing abandoned termite hills as hiding places during the day, and sparse vegetation to camp behind while hunting throughout the night. Though water can be hard to find, you don’t need to worry — they remain hydrated from all of the prey they consume.

    Stay Off Their Property, Or Risk Your Life

    Imgur/KittyInTheCity
    Although the black-footed cat accomplishes most of its hunting during the night, it isn’t afraid to let its claws out if approached during daylight hours. This creature is highly antisocial and will become extremely territorial when other species try to intrude on its space. Despite its cuteness, other critters don’t find it to be as precious as humans do, and its defensiveness is only one contributing factor to its vicious reputation.

    Not Your Average Deadly Cat

    Philadelphia Zoo
    While all predators must hunt prey in order to survive, these cute kittens take their degree of fierceness to a level above the rest. When you think of “deadly cats,” you probably imagine a lion, tiger, panther, jaguar or cheetah. But despite its small size, the black-footed cat is a more talented killer than its big cat cousins — The sheer number of animals the black-footed cat hunts on average makes it comparable to a mass killer.

    An Adorable Machine Of Destruction

    Philadelphia Zoo
    The black-footed cats are hunting superheroes. They are accomplished in capturing 60% of all prey they pursue and are able to track their scent for nearly the length of a marathon. They attack every few minutes during a hunt, meaning that they capture and kill over a dozen creatures on any given night. In true David and Goliath fashion, these cats can tear down opponents much larger than them, making them a force to be reckoned with in the wild.

    Still Want To Pet One?

    Wikipedia
    It’s kind of funny how adorably attractive such a vicious creature can be. It’s also shocking how violent and ruthless this animal is, despite the fact that it looks just like our furry friends at home. No matter how innocent they appear to be, these cats are pure murder machines; just because they have soft fur and itty-bitty bodies doesn’t make them huggable.

    Preserving Their Reign

    Karoo Cats
    Unfortunately, these beasts of nature have held a spot on the endangered species list since 2002, and will likely continue to die out due to natural and human causes. Still, they are protected by hunting laws in South Africa, and some zoos have bred these cats to continue their species, so that they may hold their title as the cutest, but deadliest cat, far into the future.

    The Nonsensical Cuteness Of A Killer Kitten

    Philadelphia Zoo
    Though it’s unclear why the world has been gifted with an unpettable cat, this beast is certainly precious from a distance and deadly within range. No one should be rushing to get their paws on one of these vicious fluff-balls. This terrifying master-hunter disguised as a pettable kitten may never grow less adorable, but it certainly isn’t worth losing a finger over…right?

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