Celebrate World Wildlife Day With These Tiny Wildcats! March 02 2018

March 3rd is World Wildlife Day! And what better way to spend a day dedicated to all of nature's wonderful creatures than to spend it looking at some of its cutest - and deadliest - cats? 

Without further ado, we give you the World's Smallest Cat: The rusty-spotted cat. 

ALL PHOTOS, VIDEOS, AND GIFS BELONG TO BBC EARTH

Almost fully grown at the time of filming, this little rusty-spotted cat won't grow much larger. They can literally fit into the palm of your hand, only weighing up to 2 to 3.5 pounds.

But don't let his perfect little paws and curious, expressive eyes fool you - this little guy is built for survival. With eyesight, six times more powerful than humans, natural speed, agility, and not to mention their impeccable jumping skills, these wildcats cats are ready for the hunt. 

 

 

This Big Cats footage, courtesy of BBCone, was filmed in the forests of Sri Lanka, one of the few natural habitats the rusty-spotted cat has been known to inhabit. The International Union for Conservation of Nature considers rusty-spotted cats to be “Near Threatened” because of the loss of its habitat. 

Now that we've whet your appetite with the smallest, here's a glimpse at the deadliest: The black-footed cat. 

 

With a 60 percent success rate in killing prey, Black-footed cats are ruthless and efficient killers. It's how they earned the title of World's Deadliest Cat. Native to southwestern South Africa, these fluffy little murder machines have been known to travel up to 20 miles in one night in search of prey, the longest recorded distant for smaller wildcat species. 

 

 

  

Want to get involved on World Wildlife Day? Visit their website for ideas on how you can help!

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Please remember: Seeing these cute videos of wild animals may make you want to cuddle them close, but these are not domesticated kitties. They are wild animals who are happiest in their natural habitat and are not suited for life in a home. Let's keep wildcats wild! 

Dr. Nicki Rust, Technical Advisor to Animals for WWF, gave her view to BBCOne on the dangers of the global exotic pet trade to the survival of big cats. 

"Nearly half of all cat species are threatened with extinction, and the illegal wildlife trade is driving species like tigers to the brink," Writes Dr. Rust. "Cheetahs in East Africa are trapped to fuel illicit trade in cubs, driven by the desire of wealthy individuals in the Middle East to own them as pets."

And it's not just the biggest wild cats that are threatened by the exotic pet trade. Smaller cats like servals and jungle cats are also taken from the wild to be bred with domestic cats to produce hybrids like 'Savanna cats'.

Dr. Rust notes that while owning these hybrid cats is not illegal, they are not great candidates for pets.  Like dog-wolf hybrids, wild cat hybrids are not often tame. Their wild instincts are still present and are much stronger than in our domesticated felines. "I would say that they don’t make good pets either," Rust adds.