Explaining the characteristics, ecology, and habitat of the Iriomote wildcat Cats of Iriomote Island


We will explain the characteristics, ecology, and habitat of the Iriomote wildcat. The Iriomote cat lives only on Iriomote Island, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, and its population is extremely small. This animal is classified as Critically Endangered, meaning it is at high risk of extinction and is in need of urgent conservation efforts.

What is Iriomote wild cat? About basic status

The Iriomote wildcat belongs to the class Mammalia, carnivora, family Felidae, genus Bengal wildcat. The scientific name is Prionailurus bengalensis iriomotensis. The body length is 50-60cm and the weight is 3-5kg. They can only be found in Japan and are a subspecies of the Bengal wildcat. According to information from Iriomote, this cat is the only large wild carnivore. It is a rare animal.

English(英名)Iriomote wild cat
scientific name(学名)Prionailurus bengalensis iriomotensis
classification(分類)Mammalia、 Carnivora、Felidae、Prionailurus

What will be the classification?

In terms of the lineage of extant species of the cat family, it is the genus Bengal cat. The following subspecies exist in the Bengal wildcat genus, so we have listed them below. The Tsushima leopard cat and the Iriomote leopard cat are designated as endangered species. These are cats for which there is little documentation.

Name:名前academic name
Tsushima leopard cat
Prionailurus bengalensis euptilurusTsushima, Japan
Iriomote wild cat
Prionailurus bengalensis iriomotensisIriomote, Japan
Sunda leopard cat
Prionailurus javanensisJava, Bali, Borneo, Sumatra、Indonesia
Flat-headed cat
Prionailurus planicepsIndonesia, Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia
Rusty-spotted Cat
Prionailurus rubiginosusIndia
Fishing cat
Prionailurus viverrinusIndonesia, China, Thailand

About the habitat of the Iriomote cat

The Iriomote cat lives only on Yaeyama and Iriomote Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. It is a species endemic to Japan. There are many cases of wildcats seen in Taketomi Town dying in traffic accidents. The location is limited, and local residents and staff are having a hard time navigating traffic and managing the cats.

feature is? What kind of creature is it?

The body of the Iriomote cat has a thick tail to the tip, a long torso, and thick and short limbs. Therefore, they are slightly different from regular domestic cats. In addition, the ground color of the whole body is dark gray or light brown, and the chin is white. There are two dark brown spots on the head, on the left and right cheeks. Iriomote wildcats live throughout Iriomote Island, but their main habitats are wetlands, rivers, mangroves, forests, and lowlands. Cats prefer to live in environments with abundant water.

What will your personality look like?

The Iriomote cat has a very cautious personality and is nocturnal, tending to be active from dusk to midnight to dawn. They are also similar to domestic cats in that they are capricious and selfish. I live a relaxing life in an area with a lot of nature. During the day, they often hide in tree cavities or rock holes.

What is the ecology of the Iriomote wildcat?

The Iriomote cat eats plants and small animals, as well as amphibians and insects. They are polygamous and breed throughout the year. The average gestation period is about 2 months, and it is possible to give birth to 2-3 puppies at a time. Kittens reach full sexual maturity in about a year and a half. Lifespan is about 10 years.

What are the natural enemies of the Iriomote cat?

Currently, the natural enemy of the Iriomote wildcat is humans. Although there are some large predators, there are many risks such as being hit by a car or having their habitat narrowed due to land development. Iriomote Ishigaki National Park and other places have taken protective measures to prevent traffic accidents. There are also cases of people getting run over in dark tunnels. There are no carnivores on Iriomote Island in Okinawa Prefecture, so there are almost no other predators.

Is the Iriomote cat an endangered species?

The Iriomote cat is only found on one island in Okinawa Prefecture, so there is no population of it. Estimated population is less than 100 individuals. The Iriomote cat first appeared in an academic paper in 1967. After discovering that it was a rare species, the government’s Ministry of the Environment designated it as a national special natural monument in 1977. In 1994, it was designated as a domestic rare wild animal and plant species. In 2007, it was upgraded from Endangered IB to IA. Some conservation centers such as the Iriomote Wildlife Conservation Center strictly manage them.

Can Iriomote wildcats be kept?

Currently, Iriomote wildcats can be kept like normal cats, but because they have a wary personality, they require more care than normal cats. In Japan, the Iriomote wildcat is designated as a “specified animal,” and permission may be required in some areas. Furthermore, it is difficult to obtain in international trade because it is listed on the Red List and the treaty regarding international trade is stipulated by the Washington Convention.


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