Wild cat does not differ from the usual breed cats is, therefore, to distinguish her is not easy. In spite of not large size, wild cat is quite a fearsome predator.
Clever animal can attack wild and domestic small ruminantsand young deer. On the rivers, when the water is on the decline, the predator catches of river inhabitants: crabs and fish.
If wildcat will justify my dwelling is not far from people who have a farm, the disappearance of the poultry is guaranteed, and in large quantities. Initially, the habitat of the cats were in Central and Western Europe. From the Baltic sea to England in the Northern part. In the southern part was distributed in the following countries: Caucasus, Balkan Peninsula, Asia Minor, Spain and Italy.
The Western part of the Soviet Union was the North-Eastern border of distribution of wild cat. Today, the population has decreased, this cat inhabits the Caucasus, Ukrainian southwest, Eastern and Western Europe.
The appearance of a predator
In appearance cats is similar to the conventional gray cats. However, it is more larger than their domestic representatives.
- the length of females up to 70 cm, and males 90 cm;
- weight of females is around 6 kg, and the male not less than 7 kg.
Wild cats have this appearance:
- the body is dense and lush;
- ears have tassels on the edges, in the form of a triangular and a little round, they are fairly wide, and on the edges there are small hairs;
- feet not high, and the body elongated;
- the claws on the paws are retractable;
- eyes have a nictitating membrane, it is needed as protection from damage;
- canines have a sharp view with the structure that the victim could grab and hold;
- molars required for chewing;
- long whiskers;
- the language has small curves papillae, which is the courting coat.
European wildcat inhabits the vastness of the Caucasus, South-Western Ukraine, Eastern and Western Europe. Great place to stay wild cats are considered to be remote from civilization mixed forests. If a predator selects the highlands, he settles at an altitude of 3 kilometers above the sea.
He likes to make forays in the rain and mud, respectively, forest cat waits in the shelter, until the weather will get better – it may last a day or more. Mainly active at night. European cats hunting starts at dawn or during sunset. Not every land Stalker is able to catch this ground of the trickster, because he can hide among the rocks, trees and even on the water. By the way, wildcat has the ability to swim, however, reluctant to release even when he was in danger from larger predators.
The sense of smell in a European cat is not highly developed, so it relies in the hunt for vision and hearing. To tame a wild cat is very difficult, involuntary conditions is experiencing great difficulty. Meow the beast cackled low. In the rest of the emotional voice is identical to the usual habits of domestic cats: hissing, snorting, humming.
The habitat of European wild cat
By their nature, cats are loners. Collected only when it’s mating season. Live in the Meadowlands area of 2 hectares, and in the highlands cover an area of 60 hectares.
These animals mark their territory with glands secret, giving to understand that he is the master of this land. During the rut males can leave your home at a great distance in search of females.
Usually wildcat chooses as the dwelling in the hollow of the old tree at no great height. But in the rocky mountain area settles into badger and Fox burrows and in crevices between the rocks. If a forest cat is in danger and, despite the fact that the terms are trees, he would prefer a badger hole for shelter. Temporary shelters of suitable densely woven branches, the recess under the cliff and small pits.
European wild cat to stay in the Meadowlands finds this stuff: herons left the nest and branched trees. For reproduction the hollow is lined with bird feathers, dry leaves and grass.
The diet of wild cats
In the foreground, in the food used voles and mice, and a marginal diet are birds and chickens. In the mountains he prefers to hunt grouse, pheasants, partridge, squirrels and dormice. In flooded territories, as production picks muskrats, rats, birds, rails and a variety of ducks. When starting a bird breeding cats attack a large number of nests, ruining them, catches birds and eats the eggs.
Wild cats well hunt rabbits. In the water fishes and cancers.
The European forest cat does not possess great size but provides a serious threat to many animals. Hamsters and rats-Pasyuk often become the dinner of a predator, despite the fact that not every dog can attack these evil beasts. On the breeding of nutria, a cat may occasionally come back and steal the young. These predators can easily attack Gornostaeva animals and mustelids – ferret, weasel, ermine. Sometimes Martens in a desperate defense to win the inexperienced young cat.
Hunting the wild cat
Cats hunt before sunset, about 2 hours until the disappearance of the solar circle. In the middle of the night can give yourself a little rest, and at dawn again to go in search of prey. He hides in ambush, waiting and doing no more than two or three jumps with a distance of three meters.
In the case of a miss wild cat, he does not pursue his victim.
Successfully preys on rodents, waiting for them until they come out of their burrows. When hunting swamps wild cat uses a tree with low overhanging branch over the water, when a duck swims, the predator makes a powerful leap on the back or grabs the prey with his paw.
They, like the pine marten, can jump in the air at a great height from one tree to another, so proteins are difficult to escape. If the prey is small, the predator produces the seizure of the legs and kills the bite in the back of the head. Attacks on large animals, using a different tactic – jumps on his back and by all means bite through the neck. Wild cat claws are sharp, therefore, to relieve it hard.
Wild cat – an animal is insatiable. The norm for him is – 10 rats or mice per day, and if he is in captivity, it can consume an average of 900 grams of meat. Wild cats eat the same as domestic cats, sitting hunched on its hind legs, but front legs not put on the ground. The cat is not adapted for tearing food, he with side of the teeth oryzae meat.
During the breeding season
Reproduction of wild cat not more than two times for the whole year. The rut starts in the months of January and March. In this period, the animals mark their territory and emit a loud mournful cry. Males begin to come together in groups in order to possess the female, they begin to fight fiercely among themselves.
Usually the female gives birth to an average 4 kittens, they are covered with small feathers and completely helpless. Cat young differs in color from the adults: on the back there are broad stripes and spots of brown color, the legs and tail dotted horizontal stripes.
The education of the young wild forest cat
Males do not participate in the upbringing of offspring, the task falls on the female. Maternal instinct is very developed female, she won’t leave the kittens for a long time, until the end protects from the attacks of various predators such as the ermine and ferret. If the offspring is in danger, the cat is looking for a new quiet shelter.
The milk she feeds them for 4 months, but already the 45th day, the young can eat meat. In this period of time the kittens leave their safe home to play, to run and to climb trees is peculiar to each of the younger youngsters. If they see the danger, then quietly lie low and not moving. At the 60th day from the birth of the kittens making a hunting trip with her mother, and after 90 days begin to separate themselves and to hunt.
Opponents of forest cats
Cats, also, there are enemies and they are not few. They from time to time prey on these animals. The most dangerous is the Jackal, the wolf and the Fox. But these large predators is practically not under force to catch a domestic cat, not to mention the wild Dodgers. Presleduemuyu terrestrial predators, it instantly climbs up tall trees and becomes inaccessible to them.
The most terrible threat to this population is the disappearance of forests. In most European countries due to the reduction of the forest wild cat cannot be found. In the red book of Belarus of wild cat thought to be extinct. In Lithuania he is still saved, but the expansion of the population there are big problems. In the mid-80s, in Moldova were registered not more than 70 individuals.
Not so long ago forest cat spread throughout the territory of Ukraine, but of today, in Transcarpathia and the Carpathians at an altitude of 1300 m, its number does not exceed 400 individuals. He probably preserved in the mouth of the Danube.