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A glimpse of a Flat-headed Cat

A glimpse of a Flat-headed Cat

Three days I have planned at the Kinabatanganriver. My target here is to see Proboscis Monkeys (Nasalis larvatus) and I also hope to have a better look at an Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus). Apart from that I will be going out with a guide to try to see the Bornean Ground-Cuckoo (Carpococcyx radiceus). However I also have another target in mind: Flat-headed Cat (Prionailurus planiceps)! This cat gets seen near this river, however usually for that to happen the water level has to be low and that’s not the case right now. The first two night I’m there, I put in my best effort and hope for the best, but in the last night I’m not expecting anything at all anymore.

However of course I go along with the final evening tour organised by the lodge. We encounter a Slow Loris (yawn) and some other normal stuff. Suddenly the boat driver sees eyeshine. Thinking it will be yet another civet, I aim my torch. Then the animal suddenly stands up and walks away. Immediately I see that it is not a civet, a rather thick body all dark grey with white on the inside of the legs. With my camera in one hand I am able to get two pictures. The boat driver confirms what I already suspected: that was a Flat-headed Cat (Prionailurus planiceps).

I feel pretty bad that I didn’t immediately try to see it with my binoculars because then I would have seen it very well. The picture is really crappy, although actually it is not as blurry as it could have been, considering I shot it with 1/16 with one hand, but what mainly went wrong is that the camera focused on the branches in front of the cat instead of on the cat itself.

Fortunately there is always Wikipedia and the photos and the video that are posted there, give a bit of an idea of how it looked. With a bit of good will some characteristics of the cat can be seen on the picture, like the dark coat and the white belly and inside of the legs, but it’s clear that this was not a great sighting.

Flat-headed Cat (source: Wikipedia)

And a link to the video.

Sadly I was not able to see the head of the cat well, only his body. Still I’m very happy to be able to add this species to my list, but I will go back for sure one day!

For other cats of Borneo that were more inclined to have good pictures taken of themselves, click here for Sunda Clouded Leopard, Marbled Cat or Sunda Leopard Cat.

Click here for that other star of the Kinabatanganriver: Bornean Ground Cuckoo!

Click here for a tripreport.


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