Česká verze

European wildcat

European wildcat

The elusive and extremely rare European wildcat (Felis silvestris) has only recently started to reappear in the Czech Republic after being extinct from our nature at the beginning of the 19th century. Their secretive way of life, low population density and the possible confusion with a feral domestic cat make the monitoring of the species very difficult. So far, the records only confirm the sporadic occurrence of single animals probably coming from the relatively strong German population and the populations in Slovakia.

Photo: Jaroslav Vogeltanz


The cross-breeding with domestic cats and the loss of natural habitats pose the main threats to the survival of wildcats that thrive in native forests undisturbed by human activity. Heavy road traffic is the common cause of wildcat mortality, as is "accidental" shooting of animals confused by gamekeepers for feral cats.


How to identify the wildcat? The wildcat is slightly more robust than the domestic cat. The main difference is the colour of the fur on animal's back. In the wildcat, it is mostly grey-brown to yellowish-brown with distinct stripes across the back, legs and tail. A narrow dark dorsal band runs along the cat's back to the base of its tail. The tail is thicker, bushier and seemingly shorter with 3 - 4 black transverse rings and a black tip.

Map of wildcat occurrence in the Czech RepublicConfirmed records of wildcat in the Czech Republic after 2010. Authors: M.Kutal & J. Pospíšková, 2016.



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