Wild cats are wild animals

Wildcat: Animal profile in the animal lexicon for children

They are shy, they are rare, and we humans almost never see them. European wildcats have long been considered extinct in Germany, but in some parts of the country the cats are now returning to their home

General information about the wildcat

The European wildcat, scientifically Felis silvestris silvestris, lives in the natural forests of Western Europe. In Germany, the rare animals are found in forest areas in central and southern Germany.

Wildcats are considered untamable. Unlike the fox, for example, wildcats avoid humans and prefer to hide in the woods. Even animals born in captivity never get used to people and hiss threateningly as soon as you get too close to them.

The size and weight of a wild cat

Adult males, so-called kuders, sometimes measure less than a meter from the snout to the tip of the tail. They then weigh up to 6.5 kilograms. Females are a bit smaller and lighter.

The spread of the wild cats in Germany

The European wildcats now populate some parts of Germany again - especially in the west and south of the country. Experts estimate that around 5000 to 7000 wild cats live in Germany. Especially in the Eifel, the Hunsr├╝ck, the Taunus and the Westerwald, the European wildcat is setting its paws more and more frequently.

The number of European wildcats had recently decreased significantly due to the hunting of the animals. Therefore, according to the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Germany now bears a special responsibility for the preservation of the wildcat.

In the "Wildcat Jump" project, which is also funded by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, forests in the German federal states of Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia are linked with one another with the help of green connecting paths.

Trees and bushes are being planted to restore the protected corridors for the wild cats and other wild animals that have been lost through intensive agriculture or the construction of settlements.

What wild cats eat

Wildcats prefer to eat mice, and often rats too. Less often they attack rabbits, birds, frogs, lizards or insects.

The cats are good hunters! Hunting wildcats stalk their prey very quietly at first, then they crouch down to wait for the right moment. When it comes, they jump off and pounce on their victim.

Pregnancy and offspring

Most of the time, the female wildcats give birth in the spring. Wildcat mothers like to hide their two to four cubs from one litter in abandoned animal dens or tree hollows.

During the summer, the mother wild cat practices with her young, mice and other small animals. In autumn the kittens look for their own territory.

The difference between wild cats and domestic cats

Wild cats and domestic tabby cats look alike. There are some differences, however: Wildcats are more powerfully built, have longer fur and a bushy tail with a round end and three dark rings in the back half. The fur of the house cats is shorter, the tail usually smooth and pointed at the end.