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Interesting facts about the European wild cat

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We found 17 interesting facts about the European wild cat

Felice Silvestris

This wild cat is very similar to the European cat, which is the popular apartment cat. It is characterized by a slightly greater mass and, therefore, larger dimensions than tiles. In nature, it is difficult to determine whether an animal you encounter is a purebred wild cat or a hybrid with a European cat, since these species often coexist with each other.

1

This is a predatory mammal from the cat family.

There are more than 20 subspecies of the European wild cat.

2

The European wild cat is found in Europe, the Caucasus and Asia Minor.

It can be found in Scotland (where it was not extirpated like the Welsh and English populations), the Iberian Peninsula, France, Italy, Ukraine, Slovakia, Romania, the Balkan Peninsula, and northern and western Turkey.

3

In Poland it is found in the eastern part of the Carpathians.

The Polish population is estimated to number at most 200 people.

4

It lives mainly in deciduous and mixed forests.

It stays away from agricultural areas and populated areas.

5

It is similar to the European cat, but more massive.

It has long, mottled fur with a dark stripe running down its back.

6

Females are smaller than males.

The average adult male weighs from 5 to 8 kg, the female - about 3,5 kg. Weight may vary depending on the season. The body length is from 45 to 90 cm, the tail is on average 35 cm.

7

It feeds mainly on rodents, although it sometimes hunts larger prey.

Its menu includes rats, moles, hamsters, voles, wood mice, as well as martens, ferrets, weasels and young deer, roe deer, chamois and birds living near the ground.

8

Usually hunts near the ground, although it is also a good climber.

It can ambush its prey from an elevated position and quickly attack it once it is confident that the attack has a chance of success.

9

It leads a solitary lifestyle and is territorial.

Researchers have not yet been able to collect much information about the social life of these animals. It is known for certain that they are able to maintain residual olfactory and vocal contact with their closest neighbors.

10

Males are more likely to travel to agricultural areas in search of food, which they usually have in abundance there.

Females are more conservative and rarely leave forest areas. This is probably due to the protection of offspring provided by forest vegetation.

11

The mating season begins in January and lasts until March.

Estrus lasts from 1 to 6 days, and pregnancy lasts from 64 to 71 days (average 68).

12

Young animals are most often born in April or May.

A litter can contain from one to eight cubs. For the first month they are fed exclusively with mother's milk, after which solid food is gradually included in their diet. The mother stops feeding the cubs milk approximately 4 months after birth, at the same time the cubs begin to learn the basics of hunting.

13

They are most often active at night.

They can also be found during the day in the wild, away from human structures. The peak activity of these cats occurs at dusk and dawn.

14

In the wild, wild cats can live up to 10 years.

In captivity they live from 12 to 16 years.

15

The wild cat is a strictly protected species in Poland.

In Europe it is protected by the Berne Convention. The main threat to feral cats is their accidental shooting caused by confusion and interbreeding with feral domestic cats.

16

Despite the complete extermination of the wild cat in England, attempts are being made to reintroduce it.

Captive breeding of these animals began in 2019, with the intention of releasing them into the wild in 2022.

17

From the end of the XNUMXth century to the mid-XNUMXth century, the population of European wild cats declined significantly.

This species has been completely exterminated in the Netherlands, Austria and the Czech Republic.

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