Scottish Wildcat
Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Suborder
Family
Subfamily
Genus
SPECIES
Felis silvestris silvestris
Population size
40
Life Span
up to 15 years
Weight
2-7
4.4-15.4
kglbs
kg lbs 
Length
504-636
19.8-25
mminch
mm inch 

The Scottish wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris) is a European wildcat population in Scotland. It was once widely distributed across Great Britain, but the population has declined drastically since the turn of the 20th century. It is now limited to northern and eastern Scotland.

No

Nocturnal

Ca

Carnivore

Vi

Viviparous

Te

Terrestrial

Al

Altricial

Te

Territorial

Am

Ambush predator

Po

Polygyny

So

Solitary

No

Not a migrant

S

starts with

Appearance

The Scottish wildcat's fur is distinctly striped with a solid tabby patterning. Its ringed tail is bushy with a black tip. It differs from the domestic cat by stripes on the cheeks and hind legs, the absence of spots, white markings, and colored backs of the ears. The Scottish wildcat is heavier than a domestic cat and has longer limb bones and a more robust skull. It is also larger in body size.

Video

Distribution

Geography

Presently, Scottish wildcats are found in the Cairngorms, the Black Isle, Aberdeenshire, the Angus Glens, and Ardnamurchan. They live in wooded habitats, rough grassland, shrubland, and near forest edges, but avoid heather moorland and gorse scrub. They prefer areas away from agriculturally used land and avoid snow deeper than 10 cm (3.9 in).

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Scottish wildcats are usually active by night and decrease their activity at low moonlight and in windy weather. When hunting they may travel long distances each night in search of prey. Sight and hearing are the wildcat's primary senses when hunting. It lies in wait for prey, then catches it by executing a few leaps, which can span three meters. It kills prey by grabbing it in its claws and piercing the neck or occiput with its fangs. Wildcats are solitary animals and prefer to spend time on their own. Home ranges of male wildcats overlap with the home ranges of one or more females, whereas female ranges rarely overlap. Adult cats maintain larger territories than juveniles. They mark and defend their home ranges using scent marking through their scat.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Scottish wildcats are carnivores and mainly prey on European rabbits and field voles. They also hunt Wood mice, Field and Bank voles, and birds. Any uneaten remnants of a kill they burry in a cache to save for later.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
January-March
BABY CARRYING
1-8 kittens
INDEPENDENT AGE
6 months
FEMALE NAME
queen
MALE NAME
tomcat
BABY NAME
kitten

Wildcats are polygynous meaning that males mate with multiple females during the breeding season. In their natural habitat, Scottish wildcats mate between January and March. Litter size varies from 1 to 8 kittens. Females rarely give birth in winter. Kittens are born in a den, which is hidden within a cairn, among brush piles, and under tree roots. They open their eyes at 10-13 days old; their eyes are initially blue and change to green around 7 weeks of age. Kittens begin learning how to hunt at 10-12 weeks and are fully weaned by 14 weeks of age. They leave their mothers around 6 months of age. Male Scottish wildcats reach reproductive maturity at around 10 months of age and females at an age of less than 12 months.

Population

Population threats

The main threats to the Scottish wildcat population include habitat loss, interbreeding with domestic cats, and being hunted as vermin. An extended controversy in Aberdeenshire pits Swedish energy firm Vattenfall Wind Power against the Scottish wildcat. Clashindarroch Forest, outside the town of Huntly, is considered by the Scottish government to be a "wildcat wonderland." The group Wildcat Haven state that the energy giant's efforts to raze the primeval forest for their wind farm would wipe out the cats there. As of 2021, an online petition circulated by the activists had garnered more than 800,000 signatures in support of protecting the forest. Hybridization with domestic cats is regarded as a threat to the population. It is likely that all Scottish wildcats today have at least some domestic cat ancestry. Domestic cats also transmit diseases to Scottish wildcats.

Population number

According to IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Scottish wildcat in 2018 was only 40 individuals. In Scotland, this subspecies is considered Critically Endangered (CR) and the population is undergoing extinction.

Ecological niche

Wildcats play an important role in their native ecosystem as they control populations of rodents and other small mammals they prey on.

Coloring Pages

References

1. Scottish wildcat Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_wildcat

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