It’s #factfriday and this week we are catching a glimpse at the elusive Scottish wildcat (Felis silvestris)!
Due to hunting and more recently, hybridisation with domestic cats, this highly endangered species has estimates of 35 true wildcat individuals left.
They are extremely rare to spot in the wild and are now only found in the Scottish Highlands, living and hunting in dense woodland. They are most active at dawn and dusk.
The wildcat is stockier and more muscular than the domestic tabby. It has longer legs and a larger, flatter head with ears that stick out to the side. Spots, broken stripes or white fur are all indications of hybridisation with domestic cats.
Some mammal experts believe that the Scottish wildcat should be regarded as its own subspecies, Felis silvestris grampia. They argue that Britain’s wildcats are larger when compared to their European relatives. Other scientists disagree, however, and write off the Scottish wildcat as nothing more than an isolated population of European wildcats.