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Thread: Hybrid Scottish Wild Cat?

  1. #1
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    Default Hybrid Scottish Wild Cat?

    Opinions please. Seen about the garden and the local area recently. IMO its a female since her nocternal wailing is unsettling our Ginger tom. She's twice his size with well defined makings and tawny brown makings under her chin and on her underside. Her tail is longer and thicker than any cat I've ever seen before. Her black dorsal marking runs all the way to the tip of her tail thus the tail rings are joined on her tail's upper side.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I have another photo at http://www.new2youtoyshop.com/wildlife/Cat2.jpg
    Last edited by Gronnuck; 06-Mar-11 at 15:50.
    'We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.'
    Maya Angelou

  2. #2

    Default Scottish Wildcat

    Found this on the Scottish Wildcat website:


    The Scottish Wildcat
    (felis sylvestris grampia)
    Description | Conservation | History | Breeding program | Identification
    Meet the neighbours


    Identify a wildcat

    Identifying a wildcat can be a tricky thing that takes a little practice, and this has been a significant issue with their conservation; imagine the gamekeeper who glimpses a tabby on his grouse moor; is it a feral he needs to protect his grouse from? Or is it a wildcat he could get heavily fined for shooting? This has also been a problem with identifying where wildcats live with almost any tabby coloured cat being fair game to be identified as one.

    Below you can find some simple guidelines to identifying a wildcat, and the differences between them, their domestic cousins, and the hybrid offspring of each, which are the really tricky ones to tell apart. The most obvious identifier is the tail; the wildcat's magnificent tail is very thick and clublike with big bold distinct rings around it, only the snow leopard or Andean Mountain Cat have anything like such a thick tail in the feline world. Second are the coat markings; pure white patches or spotted markings are primarily domestic traits, as you can see in the photo above even the white muzz is actually a tawny brown colour, however a few spots or a very small white chest mark may indicate only very minor hybridisation that will fade over a generation.

    This video takes you through the key things to look out for step by step, it is an extended extract from the film "Last of the Scottish Wildcats" featuring experts Prof David MacDonald and Dr Andrew Kitchener.



    Wildcat

    Mostly brown with distinctive black tiger-stripe markings
    Thick, ruffled coat appearance
    Little or no spotted markings
    Little or no white patches
    Muscular solid body frame
    Wavy lines over head and neck
    Dorsal stripe ends at base of tail
    Vary thick tail with a blunt end
    Perfect black rings circle the whole tail with a large black tip
    Jaw large and robust, typically wide head and muzz


    Hybrid

    Mostly brown with black striped tabby markings
    Coat appearance variable
    Some spotted markings or stripes fused together
    Some white patches on throat and chest
    Variable body frame
    Slightly wavy lines over head and neck
    Dorsal stripe partly extends onto tail
    Thick tail with a blunt or tapering end
    Black rings circle the tail joined by dorsal stripe with large black tip
    Jaw slimmer and less robust, typically slightly slimmer head and muzz

  3. #3
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    Default

    Thanks for that Happy Gilmour. She appears to have most of the attirbutes of a wild cat but I guess only an expert will really be able to tell. I'm hoping to get more pictures while she's in the area, particularly of her tail.
    'We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.'
    Maya Angelou

  4. #4
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    Hi
    I know the project leader of the "Highland Tiger" project (Cairngorms) quite well, so can send the photo on to him if you like?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by therealducati View Post
    Hi
    I know the project leader of the "Highland Tiger" project (Cairngorms) quite well, so can send the photo on to him if you like?
    If you don't mind. Their opinion would be invaluable. I'm hoping to get more pictures of her tail if I can.
    'We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.'
    Maya Angelou

  6. #6
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    Default

    I dont know anything about these, but look forward to hearing the outcome. Either way it is a striking animal to have in the garden.
    Away with the birds

  7. #7
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    Hi,
    We think that we might have a Hybrid Scottish Wildcat, he has most of the characteristics mentioned above. He is grey with the typical black tiger stripes, including a large fluffy tail with the black rings etc all the way down it, he has some brown under his chin and on his belly, he is very broad and stocky with a wide head and quite a high rear end. He is much bigger than any other cats that we have ever had and is VERY vocal, everybody that has seen him has commented on his size.

  8. #8
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    Hi
    Most SWC are distinctly brown in colour, although, of course, this not always true of hybrids. I will send the photo on to David tomorrow.

  9. #9
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    Default

    We have one here too. Looks exactly the same. It's huge even compared to our rather large Tom. I saw a couple last year that I believe were pure wildcat but the other day we saw one shoot past our fence which I think may be a hybrid. Not too uneasy about our presence either, it keeps going into the barn and eating all the cat food.
    Nice to see though.
    Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.

    http://thetenaciousgardener.blogspot.co.uk/

  10. #10

    Default hybrid wildcat

    You can report sightings and send photos see below


    Scottish wildcat sightings

    A significant problem with Scottish wildcat conservation is that we know very little about their population size or distribution; it is estimated that less than 400 pure wildcats and around 3500 hybrid wildcats live in the Highlands north of the industrial belt formed by Glasgow and Edinburgh. Numerous surveys are being planned in the near future to clarify the situation, but in the mean time, eye witness reports give us a great general indication of where wildcats live across Scotland.

    So if you have seen a wildcat in the last few years, can describe it in detail or supply a picture and give us an accurate location of the sighting we'd really like to hear from you.

    Please e-mail; sightings@scottishwildcats.co.uk.

    Include as much information and details about the sighting as possible. It's also important to point out that sightings of hybrids or Kellas Cats are also very useful; their presence indicates wildcat genes, and possible pure examples, in the vicinity. Your personal details will be kept confidentially by us, however details about the actual sighting will be available to the reputable scientific community on request.

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