wandererdragon: (Default)

Small Wild European Cats

One of my most favorite story characters is the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. He is so cute and logical; you can not help adoring him. He is a fantastic hero, but domestic cats have many relatives in the wild world. I would like to consider small, European, wild cats.

The closest relative to the domestic cat is the European Wild Cat, or Felis sylvestris in Latin. It is supposed to be the ancestor for the domestic cats.

Its appearance is similar to the alley cats; it is greenish grey with the black stripes all over the body and tail. The tail is bushy and rounded; the tip of it is black. In comparison with the domestic cat, a wild one is bigger and has shorter legs. It can become up to 30 inches long, with another 15 inches for the tail. Its height is about 14 – 16 inches. Its distinguishing feature is four lengthwise stripes on its head.

As for its habitat, a wild cat prefers the deciduous woodland and mountain areas, but also lives in grasslands and near water. It is spread all through Europe except the Scandinavian regions.

The species lives alone on the territories of 100 acres each, but in spring, cats can cooperate to protect their territories.

As to the behavior, the Wild Cat is mostly a night hunter. The main hunting hours are dusk (1 – 1.5 hours before sunset) and dawn (one hour after sunrise).

Usually they hunt everything that is smaller than them, like small rodents, lizards, birds, and sometimes they attack small deer. They usually stalk the prey until the prey gets close and then rush to kill it.

The breeding period begins in late January and ends at the beginning of April. At this time, the cats are extremely noisy. The gestation period lasts 65 days and the female gives birth to one to eight blind, furry kittens. The kittens become mature after ten months. All this time they stay with the mother.

Another relative that lives in Europe is the Lynx. Actually there are two kinds of lynxes in Europe. The first one is called Eurasian Lynx or Lynx Lynx, the second one is Iberian Lynx or Lynx Pardinus. They are similar in appearance, but have some distinct features.

Lynxes are extremely shy and secretive animals that are hard to observe. The distinguishing features of a lynx are a powerful body, short tail, long, sturdy, densely furred legs; the fur appears even on the sole. These help the lynx to deal with the deep snow. Other features like whiskers and black tufts on the ends of their ears distinguish them.

Let us consider the Eurasian Lynx first. Its coats color changes gradually as its range moves from the north to the south. A coat can be grayish with yellow tint in Norway and Sweden, and yellow with the rusty tint in the Balkans. Also the fur can have a pattern. That is typical for species from central and southern Europe. The pattern can be spotted and striped. They are four feet long and have ten inch tail. Their weight is up to fifty pounds.

Long ago lynxes were widely spread through Europe, but now they can be found only in some parts of the Swiss Alps, the French Pyrenees, and the Balkans. One can also find lynx in the Carpathian Mountains. But most of them live in the north (Norway, Sweden, Finland, and The Russian Federation).

One of the reasons for their extinction was lack of territory due to the farming growth. The average territory for the male lynx is 264±23km2 and for female is 168±64km2. They prefer mountain forests and woodlands, but also can be found in woodless areas. Males and females use their territory differently. Males try to use all of territory equally, while females have a special core part that is used more intensively.

On these territories they hunt for small ungulates like roe dears chamois. Also they hunt birds, rabbits, hares, and sometimes fish. They tend to switch to bigger food like deer in Winter, while catching rabbits and birds in summer. Mostly they are active at dusk and dawn. The hunting technique they use is laying in ambush and then leaping swiftly on their prey.

The mating period begins in January and lasts until March. Then after two months 1 – 4 blind kittens are born in the den made in the hollow of a tree, among rocks, or in  scrub brush. They stay with the mother until the next spring.

The smaller kind of lynx is called Iberian Lynx. As noted above it is similar to the Eurasian but has some peculiarities.

The first peculiarity is it is smaller. The maximum weight is forty pounds and average length forty inches.

The second peculiarity is that it lives only on the Iberian Peninsula. There the habitat is woody mountain hills with meadows.

The third and the main one is their diet. The main prey is the rabbit and hare, followed by small mammals and birds. Such strict specialization brought that population to the extinction point (only 1000 cat left).

These three things cause the difference in hunting techniques.

These three types of cats (Wild Cat, Lynx Lynx, Lynx Pardinus) play the main roles in the ecosystem of Europe. Other types of cats have very small populations.
wandererdragon: (Default)
Small Wild European Cats
One of the my most favorite story heroes is the Cheshire Cat from the Alice in the Wonderland. He is so cute and logical, you can not help adoring him. He is a fantastic hero, but domestic cats have many relatives in the wild world. I would like to consider small wild cats that live in Europe.
The closest relative to the domestic cat is the European Wild Cat, or Felis sylvestris in Latin. It is thought to be the ancestor for the domestic cats.
Its appearance is very similar to the alley cats, it is greenish grey with the black stripes all over the body and tail. The tail is bushy and rounded; tip of it is black. In comparison with the domestic cat it is bigger and has shorter legs. It can become up to 30 inches long, with another 15 inches for the tail. Its height is about 14 – 16 inches. Its distinguishing feature is four lengthwise stripes on its head.
As for its habitat it prefers the deciduous woodland and mountain areas, but also lives in grassland and near water. It is spread all through Europe except the Scandinavia regions.
The species live alone on the territories of 100 acres each, but in spring cats can cooperate to protect their territories.
As to the behavior, the Wild Cat is mostly a night hunter. The main hunting hours are dusk (1 – 1.5 hours before sunset) and dawn (1 hour after sunrise).
Usually they hunt everything that is smaller than them like small rodents, lizards, birds, sometimes they attack small deer. It usually stalks the prey until the prey gets close and then rushes to kill it.
The breeding period begins in the late January and ends at the beginning of April. At this time the cats are extremely noisy. The gestation period lasts 65 days and the female gives birth to from one to eight blind furry kittens. The kittens become mature after 10 months. All this time they stay with the mother.
Another relative that lives in Europe is the Lynx. Actually there are two kinds of lynxes in Europe. The first one is called Eurasian Lynx or Lynx Lynx, the second one is Iberian Lynx or Lynx Pardinus. They are similar in appearance, but have some distinct features.
Lynxes are extremely shy and secretive animals that are hard to observe. The distinguishing features of a lynx are a powerful body, short tail, long, sturdy, densely furred legs; the fur appears even on the sole. These help the lynx to deal with the deep snow. There are other features like whiskers and black tufts on the ends of their ears.
Let us consider the Eurasian Lynx first. Its coats color changes gradually as its range moves from the north to the south. It can be grayish with yellow tint in Norway and Sweden, and yellow with the rusty tint on Balkans. Also the fur can have a pattern. That typical for species from central and southern Europe. The pattern can be spotted and striped. They are 4 feet long and have 10 inch tail. Their weight is up to 50 pounds.
Long ago lynxes were widely spread through Europe, but now they can be only found in some parts of Swiss Alps, French Pyrenees, Balkans. One can also find lynx in the Carpathian Mountains. But the most of them live at the north (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russian Federation).
One of the reasons for their extinction was lack of territory due to the farming growth. The average territory for the male lynx is 264±23km2 and for female is 168±64km2. They prefer mountain forests and woodlands, but also can be found in woodless areas. Males and females use their territory differently. Males try to use all of territory equally, while females have a special core part that is used more intensively.
On these territories they hunt for small ungulates like roe dears chamois, birds, rabbits, hares, sometimes fish. They tend to switch to the bigger food like deer in Winter, while catching rabbits and birds in summer.
Mostly they are active at dusk and dawn. The hunting technique they use is laying in ambush and then leaping swiftly on their prey.
The mating period begins in January and lasts until March. Then after two months 1 – 4 blind kittens are born in the den made in the hollow of a tree, among rocks, or in scrub brush. They stay with the mother until the next spring.
The smaller kind of lynx is called Iberian Lynx. As noted above it is similar to the Eurasian but has some peculiarities.
The first one is it is smaller. The maximum weight is 40 pounds and average length 40 inches.
The second one is that it lives only on the Iberian Peninsula. There the habitat is woody mountain hills with meadows.
The third and the main one is their diet. The main prey is the rabbit and hare, followed by small mammals and birds. So strict specialization caused that population got to extinction point (only 1000 species left).
These three things cause the difference in hunting techniques.
wandererdragon: (Default)

Small Wild European Cats

 

One of the mine most favorite story heroes is The Cheshire Cat from the Alice in the Wonderland. It is so cute and logical, you can not help adoring him. He is a fantastic hero, but domestic cats have many relatives in the wild world. I would like to consider small wild cats that live in Europe.

The most close relative to the domestic cat is the European Wild Cat, or Felis sylvestris in Latin. It is thought to be the ancestor for the domestic cats.

Its appearance is very similar to the alley cats, it is greenish grey with the black stripes all over the body and tail. The tail is bushy and rounded; tip of it is black. In comparison with the domestic cat it is bigger and has shorter legs. It can become up to 30 inches long, with another 15 inches for the tail. Its height is about 14 – 16 inches. Its distinguishing feature is 4 lengthwise stripes on his head.

As for its habitat it prefers the deciduous woodland and mountain areas, but also lives in grassland and near water. It is spread all through Europe except the Scandinavia regions.

The species live solely on the territories of 100 acres each, but in spring cats can cooperate to protect their territories.

As to the behavior, the Wild Cat is mostly night hunter. The main hunting hours are dusk (1 – 1.5 before sunset) and dawn (1 hour after sunrise).

Usually they hunt everything that is smaller then them like small rodents, lizards, birds, sometimes they attack small deers. It usually stalks the prey until the prey gets close and then stalks or rushes to kill it.

The breeding period begins in the late January and ends at the beginning of April. At this time the cats are extremely noisy. The gestation period last 65 days and the female brings from 1 to 8 blind furry kittens. They become mature after 10 months. All this time they stay with the mother.

The further relative that lives in Europe is the Lynx. Actually there are two kinds of lynx in Europe. The first one is called Eurasian Lynx or Lynx Lynx, the second one is Iberian Lynx or Lynx Pardinus. They are similar in appearance, but have some distinct features.

The lynx are extremely solely animal that is hard to observe. The distinguishing features of lynx are powerful body, short tail, long, sturdy, densely furred legs; the fur appears even on the sole. These help lynx to deal with the deep snow. There are other features like whiskers and black tilts on the ends of their ears.

Let us consider the Eurasian Lynx first. Its coats color changes gradually as we move from the north to the south. It can be grayish with yellow tilt in Norway and Sweden, and yellow with the rusty tilt on Balkans. Also the fur can have the pattern. It is typical for species from central and southern Europe. The pattern can be spotted and striped. They are 4 feet long and have 10 inch tail. Their weight is up to 50 pounds.

Long ago lynxes were widely spread through Europe, but now they can be only find in some parts of Swiss Alps, French Pyrenees, Balkans. You can also find lynx in Carpathian Mountains. But the most of them live at the north (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russian Federation).

One of the reasons of their extinction was lack of territory due to the farming growth. The average territory for the male lynx is 264±23km2 and for female is 168±64km2. They prefer mountain forests, woodlands, but also can be found at the woodless area. Males and females use their territory differently. Males try to use all of territory equally, while females have the special core part that is used more intensively.

On these territories they hunt for small ungulates like roe deers chamois, birds, rabbits, hares, sometimes fish. They tent to switch to the bigger food like deers in Winter, while catching rabbits and birds in summer.

Mostly they are active at dusk and dawn. The hunting technique they use is laying in the ambush and then leaping swiftly on their prey.

Mating period begin in January ant lasts till March. Then after two months 1 – 4 blind kittens are born in the den made in the hollow of a tree, among rocks, or in  scrub brush. They stay with mother till next spring.

The smaller kind of lynx is called Iberian Lynx. As it was said it is similar to Eurasian but has same peculiarities.

The first one, it is smaller. The maximum weight is 40 pounds and average length 40 inches.

The second one is that it lives only on Iberian Peninsula. This specifies the habitat, woody mountain hills with meadows.

The third and the main one, it is their diet. The main prey is the rabbit and hare, on the second place small mammals and birds are. So strict specialization caused  that population got to extinction point (only 1000 species left).

These three things cause the difference in hunting techniques.

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