Scottish Wild Cat

A UK native that was once present across Britain, the Scottish wild cat can no longer be found so freely in the wild. However, visitors to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park have ample opportunity to view this charming native as we're home to eight Scottish wild cats.

HABITAT: Once found across the British Isles, the natural habitat of the Scottish Wildcat now consists of the various terrains across the Grampians and Northern Highlands.

CHARACTERISTICS: Very similar in appearance to a tabby, they are around 50% larger than the average domestic cat with a thick coat, and a ringed tail with a black tip.

BIOLOGY: Like most cats, Scottish wild cats are nocturnal and rely on their excellent vision and a highly developed sense of smell and hearing to hunt. Their thick fur keeps them warm and camouflaged in their harsh rocky habitat and the majority of their diet consists of rabbits and small rodents. Scottish wild cats are a solitary species that will pair up once a year to mate in winter and an average litter of 3-4 cubs are produced in the spring.  Offspring are independent at around 6 months of age.

CONSERVATION STATUS: These wild cats were thought to be a pest on Victorian game estates, but it has since been proved that birds make up a very small percentage of the Scottish wild cat's diet. However, the idea that these cats compete with humans for game birds still persists and they are still trapped in some areas. With only around 400 of they are as rare as the Siberian tiger. As well as decreasing habitats the main threat to these animals is hybridisation with domestic cats.

BREEDING AT THE PARKS: Port Lympne holds the studbook for this species and is working in collaboration with other captive breeding institutions as well as conservation research units in an effort to halt the ongoing decline of one of the UK’s most endangered mammals.