The European Wildcat (Felis silvestris) is a wild cat, and a felid mammal.
The European Wildcat is like a domestic cat, but with longer sandy-coloured fur, a shorter non-tapering bushy tail, and larger sharper teeth. It has striped fur with a dark dorsal band and a whitish underbelly. Its eyes are yellowish-brown, and its nose is pink. It has large ears.
It grows to about 65 centimetres (26 inches) in length, which is larger than a domestic cat.
The European Wildcat is native to Europe, Turkey, and the Caucasus region of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Most live in Spain, Portugal, and Scotland. It prefers forests, and avoids human activity.
It is diurnal, active during the day. It is carnivorous, feeding mainly on rabbits and rodents.
The European Wildcat is solitary and territorial.
The female makes a den in long grass. She is pregnant for nearly 60 days, before giving birth to 2-3 young, called kittens.
Kittens are striped and spotted at birth. They are also altricial, which means that they are blind at birth. They open their eyes at 10-13 days. Kittens catch their own prey at about six months of age, and are independent after 8-9 months.
The lifespan of the European Wildcat is 10-15 years.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM