The Full Wiki

Wildcat: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wildcat[1]
European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris)
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felis
Species: F. silvestris
Binomial name
Felis silvestris
Schreber, 1775
subspecies

See text

The five subspecies of Felis silvestris according to a 2007 DNA study.[3]

The wildcat (Felis silvestris), sometimes wild cat or wild-cat, is a small cat (Felinae) native to Europe, the western part of Asia, and Africa. It is a hunter of small mammals, birds, and other creatures of a similar size. There are several subspecies distributed in different regions. Sometimes included is the ubiquitous domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus), which has been introduced to every habitable continent and most of the world's larger islands, and has become feral in many of those environments.

In its native environment, the wildcat is adaptable to a variety of habitat types: savanna, open forest, and steppe. Although domesticated breeds show a great variety of shapes and colours, wild individuals are medium-brown with black stripes, between 45 and 80 cm (18–32 inches) in length, and weigh between 3 and 8 kilograms (6–17.6 pounds). Shoulder height averages about 35 cm (14 in) and tail length is about 30 cm (12 in). The African subspecies tends to be a little smaller and a lighter brown in colour.

The wildcat is extremely timid. It avoids approaching human settlements. It lives solitarily and holds a territory of about 3 km².

A study by the National Cancer Institute suggests that all current house cats in the world are descendants from a group of self-domesticating wildcats 10,000 years ago, somewhere in the Near East.[3] It is believed that this domestication occurred when the Agricultural Revolution yielded grain, which would be stored in granaries, that attracted rodents, which in turn attracted cats. The closest relative of the wildcat is the Sand Cat (Felis margarita).

Contents

Diet

The wildcat is predominantly a carnivore; insects and plants are unimportant parts of its diet. Most of its prey is small mammals, mainly rodents and rabbits, with lizards being the third most common prey in Portugal, and birds the least common.[4]

Status

The main threats to the survival of this species are hybridization with domestic cats, disease transmission, and competition with feral domestic cats. Other significant threats are ongoing habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation in some areas (although in some other parts of Europe forest cover is increasing, as a result of abandonment of extensive agricultural land). Road kills and, in some areas, persecution are also problems.

The main central European population is in the Eifel mountains of Germany. There have been reintroduction efforts in Southern Germany. The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) is trying to establish a European studbook for the species, which would contain data on the captive population in its member institutions. The wildcat is part of the EAZA European Carnivore Campaign [1], running from 2008–2010, with the goal of furthering the acceptance for living together with carnivores and ultimately supporting various field projects in Europe on each of the sixteen chosen species.

Subspecies

African wild cat at the Johannesburg Zoo

According to a 2007 DNA analysis, there are only 5 subspecies:[3]

Older texts separated out many more subspecies:

Felis silvestris gordoni at the Zoo Olomouc, Czech Republic
  • Unknown distribution:
    • Felis silvestris chutuchta
    • Felis silvestris gordoni
    • Felis silvestris haussa
    • Felis silvestris iraki
    • Felis silvestris nesterovi
    • Felis silvestris rubida
    • Felis silvestris tristrami
    • Felis silvestris ugandae
    • Felis silvestris vellerosa

References

  1. ^ Wozencraft, W. C. (16 November 2005). Wilson, D. E., and Reeder, D. M. (eds). ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd edition ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 536-537. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3. 
  2. ^ Nowell, K. (2008). Felis silvestris. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 22 March 2009. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  3. ^ a b c Driscoll, CA, et al. (28 June 2007). "The Near Eastern Origin of Cat Domestication". Science 317 (5837): 519–523. doi:10.1126/science.1139518. PMID 17600185. 
  4. ^ Sarmento P (1996). "Feeding ecology of the European wildcat Felis silvestris in Portugal". Acta Theriologica 41 (4): 409–414. 

External links

Advertisements

Simple English

Wildcat
File:Wildkatze
European Wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris)
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felis
Species: F. silvestris
Binomial name
Felis silvestris
Johann von Schreber, 1775
File:Wiki-Felis
subspecies

See text

A wildcat (Felis silvestris) is a small wild member of the cat family (Felidae) native to Eurasia. The name wildcat is also used as a general term for feral domestic cats and for any of the smaller wild species of the cat family.


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message