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badger Wildcats

Identify It >   Mammal Section >   Wildcats >

Scientific name:  Felis sylvestris

Size:  85 to 110cm, of which 25cm is tail.

Distribution:  Up until the 1800's wildcats were found in many parts of Britain.  Today they are mainly confined to northern Scotland.

Months seen:  All year

Life Span: Wildcats can live for up to twelve years

Habitat:  Found on high hills. Lives in old fox dens, hollow trees or in dens under rocks

Food:  Rabbits, hares, mice, voles and birds

Special features:  Wildcats look a little like large domestic tabby cats.  They differ from feral cats (which are domestic cats gone wild) in that the tail has black rings all along it and a rounded black tip.  Feral cats have a more pointed tail.

Some Wildcats breed with feral domestic cats, producing hybrids, which can lead to some confusion.  The foot pads of the Wildcat are black, and they have a split M-shaped (^ ^) black marking over the eyes.  They have long white whiskers which are very brittle.

Wildcats do most of their hunting at dawn and dusk, which is when their prey is most active.  During the daytime they rest up in trees and on rocks.

Wildcats breed in March, and again in May or June.  The kittens are born two months later.  Each litter usually contains between three and five kittens.  They are blind at birth, but have a full coat of fur.  At six weeks of age they are quite mobile and will follow the mother around outside the den.

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