Scottish Wildcat

scottish wildcat

The Scottish wildcat has the appearance of a very muscular tabby cat with a thick coat of brown black fur with mild stripes. Although it resembles domesticated cats in the shape of its face it is typically twice as large as a domestic cat. The Scottish wildcat is a sub species of the European wildcat which is a cat  is unique to Britain it is now only found in Scotland, as the name suggests.

Similar to most felines, the Scottish wildcat is a solitary and nocturnal animal and they are most active at dusk and dawn. Cats only come together to mate in the mid-winter but live the rest of their lives alone, communicating with others only through scent.

They live on a pure meat diet of rabbits, rodents, and small mammals. Their control of alien pests is a great help for farmers in Scotland but they can pick off lambs to the annoyance of local sheep herders. These cats only have a small fear of water and will occasionally fish from the edge of a river or pond by scooping up passing fish with their claws.

The gestation period for a female Scottish wildcat is 62 to 68 days and females can only have one litter per year. Snares and traps are estimated to account for up to 92% of deaths in the wild and Scottish Wildcats are illegally persecuted as pests. There are some measures in place to protect the species but their numbers are still decreasing. Domestic cats pose a great threat for Wildcats and hybridization is widespread as there are very few genetically pure populations left. They’ve evolved to combat heavy deforestation in Scotland but are now confined to the Scottish Highlands where they compete for food.

 Scottish Wildcat Conservation Organizations

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