Discover some interesting facts about the elusive Scottish wildcats that is being reintroduced to Scotland to save it from the brink of extinction…
1. Wildcats live up to seven years in the wild and up to 15 in captivity.
2. Kittens are born with closed eyes. They open after nine to 12 days. Wildcats produce a litter of between one and eight kittens after a gestation period of around two and a half months.
3. Wildcats have more than 30,000 hairs per square centimetre. Some are specially adapted to detect minute changes in the air current.
4. Scottish wildcats mainly feed on rabbits and small rodents such as voles. They will also take hares and a variety of bird species.
5. Wildcats do not have white feet or stomachs, and do not have a line down their tails, unlike tabby cats.
WHERE TO FIND THEM: Wildcats were once found elsewhere in the UK and across Scotland, but they are now only found in the Scottish Highlands. You won’t usually find them any higher than 650 metres above sea level – they love areas of dense cover such as the woodlands.
You can read Jim Crumley’s Scottish wildlife columns online here, and each month in The Scots Magazine.