Wildkatze Felis silvestris (Schreber, 1777)


English: Wild Cat; French: Chat sauvage; Albanian: Maca e Egèr; Arab: Al kiat al basai; Bulgarian: Diwa Kotka; Croatian: divlja macka; Danish: Vildkat; Estonian; Metskass; Dutch: Wilde Kat; Finnish: Metsäkissa; Greek: Agriogata; Hebrew: Chatul Bar; Hungarian: Vadmacska; Iranian: Gorbeh vahshi; Italian: Gatto selvatico; Korean: Sal Koeing E Or Sak; Lettish: Mezy Kakis; Lithuanian: Miskine kat’r; Mongol; Zerleg Murr; Montenigrin: diva macka; Norwegian: Vill katt; Pashto: Pischu-Plang; Polish: Zbik; Portuguese: gato brava; Romanian: Pisica salbateca; Russian: Dikaja Koschka; Serb: divlja macka; Slovakian: macka diva; Slovenian: divja macka; Spanish: Gato montés; Swedish: Vildkat; Turkish: Yaban kedisi; Urdu: Jangli billi.

Former distribution: All over Europe, included the Mediterranean islands, Turkey north to the Odessa region in the USSR, and norht-west to the Baltic sea. Not in Ireland, Scandinavia, Finland or Iceland. East to India, China, Mongolia and south to the African continent and the Arabian peninsula.
Present distribution: In restricted areas of Scotland, Denmark, west and central Germany, eastern and central France, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain and Portugal, Italy, on all Mediterranean islands, Yugoslavia, CSSR, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Romania, in the USSR in the Odessa region and Turkey. All over Africa except the arid and rain forest regions. From Iran to Afghanistan, Pakistan to north-west India, north-west and northern China, Mongolia.
Behaviour: Preferred habitat: forests and open landscapes both diurnal and nocturnal – they prey mainly on small mammals, birds and eggs. Predators include dogs and eagle-owls.
Population status: Stable again; endangered only on the Balearic Islands and in the USSR. FRG: 1200-1300.
Brief notes:
Body weight: 5-15 kg
Head and body length: 45-80 cm
Tail length: 25-35 cm
Shoulder heigth: 20-40 cm
Gestation period: 56-68 days
Maximum age: up to 16 years
Trophy: Skull record CIC: 21.30 points, 1974 USSR n.n.; average 15.0 points.
Hunting methods: On a kill, with dogs and traps. Protected in Germany; Austria, except in Salzburg, Styria and northern Austria.
Subspecies: 21 are listed; GUGGISBERG (1975) proposes 3 subspecies: 1 Palaearctic, 1 Afro-tropical region, 1 Indo-Malayan region. The author follows this classification:
1. Felis s. silvestris
2. Felis s. ornata Baluchistan in Pakistan and north-western India; southern Afghanistan, central and southern Iran; USSR, Turkmeniya, Kazakhstan east to China; the Tarim basin. Lop Nor, northern China and Mongolia. Stable.
3. African Wild Cat (German: Falbkatze; French: Chat sauvage d’Afrique.) Felis s. lybica All over Africa, (except in waterless arid regions and typical rain fores areas); the Arabian peninsula and the Near East countries.
Remarks: According to GUGGISBERG (1975) all wild cats from the Balearic Islands, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily and Crete are intermediate specimens between Felis s. silvestris and Felis s. lybica. The wild cats of the regions of the Caucasus, Iran, are cross-breeding with the Felis s. ornata. It is clear that all these subspecies overlap in neighbouring regions.