I am a big admirer of all large cats, one of my favourites being the Scottish Wild Cat.
It is one of the wildest of all cats and will fight to the death to protect its kitten even with a golden eagle. It avoids humans like the plague preferring to live a solitary life.
They have survived human for over 500 years longer than the wolf and over 1000 years more than the bear and british lynx. They have been on the planet for millions of years before either humans or domestic cats.
They look much like a tabby but gait like a big cat, males weigh between 6-9kg, females smaller 5-7kg. They have rotating wrists and razor sharp claws for gripping and climbing trees. Fossil remains have been found measuring 4 feet.
They can sprint at 30mph and fall from massive heights landing on their feet, they are a stealth hunter and mainly nocturnal covering up to 10km range. Even when born in captivity they are un-tamable.
They charge when fighting but don't lie on their sides like domestic cats.. Renowned for biting right through gauntlets vets dart if they have to handle them.
Wild Cats enjoy their own space and daily schedules. They like things to be peaceful so live as far from humans as possible. Usually heavily forested and near water, they frequently change dens.
They are a friend of crop farmers by keeping down rabbits etc. They only eat meat consuming most if not all of what they kill. Killing by grabbing prey and pulling it down then biting through either neck or spine.
Wild Cats like to fish by using their paws to scoop out fish, and like eels, lizards and frogs. Their other food is small deer, ground birds and hares, nowadays they rarely take a lamb seeming to know the farmer will try to kill them. Most Scottish farmers are proud to have a Wild Cat on their land.
Their night vision is exceptional about seven better than ours. They can rotate their ears 180 degrees enabling them to hear all around them. They then triangulate and pinpoint the source, and exceptional balance as well make it a super predator.
Some Facts taken ad lib
Mating season: January to March, most births in April to May
Oestrus: 2 to 8 days, in presence of males
Gestation: 63 to 68 days
Litter size: Mean 3.4, range 1 to 8
Age at independence: 4 to 5 months, up to 10 months
Age at sexual maturity: Females 10 to 12 months, males 9 to 10 months
Inter birth interval: one year, females can only exceptionally breed twice in one year, such as when the first litter is lost
Mortality: Studies suggest human caused mortality (snares, roads, gunshot) account for up to 92% of deaths
Longevity: Probably around 6 to 8 years in the wild, up to 15 years in captivity
Usually one litter a year with 3-4 kittens born in early spring, they learn to hunt from roughly 7-9 weeks old by the mother bringing home live prey then with her becoming independent around 5-6 months.
This just scrapes the surface of this fascinating cat. I think the following quote sums them up well
"They'll fight to the death for their freedom; they epitomise what it takes to be truly free I think."
If interested you will find most if not all you want to know on this site
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