Felis silvestris Schreber, 1777

Felis silvestris imageSynonyms: Felis (Catus) silvestris Schreber, 1777, Saugeth. 3:397; Felis catus ferus Erxleben, 1777, Syst. Regn. Anim. 1:518; Catus ferox Martorelli, 1896, Atti Soc. Ital. Sci. Nat. Milano, 35:253

Common names: Engl: European wild cat; Russ: Dikaya evropeyskaya lesnaya koshka; Turk: Yaban kedisi; Ukr: Kit lisovy



Taxonomic description: Similar to, but more robust than, striped tabby Domestic Cat. Chief distinguishing feature is its bushy tail, which has 3-5 completely separate broad, black rings, and a rounded/blunt black tip. Head-body length: 48-68 cm; tail length: 21-38.5 cm; hind foot length: 10-16 cm; shoulder height: 35-40 cm; weight: 1.6-8 kg. Dental formula: 3/3, 1/1, 3/2, 1/1=30.

Felis silvestris arealIUCN Status:
    World level: EN
    Black Sea Regional level: EN
    Subregion level: EN

Distribution: Europe, North Africa, Asia Minor. Black Sea Coast: in coastal regions of Strandja Mts., Stara Planina Mts., Kamtcia River, Batova River.

Habitats type, Critical habitats, Limiting factors: In general occupies deciduous forests of the plains and lower hill regions, living mainly near natural clearings and in the peripheral zones of large forests. Critical and limiting factors could be the absence of old trees.

Biology: Carnivorous (small rodents and lagomorphs, with amphibians, fish, insects taken rarely). Largely crepuscular and nocturnal. Females sedentary and exclusively territorial. Many males, particularly young animals, are nomadic, and movements overlap females’ ranges. Mating in late winter and spring, births in April-September (peaks in May). Sexual maturity: male 1 year; female 9-10 months. Gestation 63-69 days. Litter size averages 3.4 (range 1-8). Litters per year 1 - occasionally a second litter in captivity.

Population trends: Stable populations in the reserves and in larger forests.

Threats: Environmental pollution, habitat restriction, tourist pressure.

Conservation measures taken: Part of the habitats are included in reserves.

Conservation measures proposed: Regular recording of the species numbers in the region.


  1. Macdonald, D. & P. Barret. 1993. Mammals of Britain & Europe. Collins Field Guide. Harper Collins Publishers. pp. 133-136.
  2. International Conventions for biodiversity conservation. Bern Convention. 1996. Publ. “Green Bolkans” and PHARE Programme, Annex II, p. 97.
  3. Ellerman and T.C.S. Morrison-Scott, 1951. Checklist of Palaearctic and Indian Mammals (1758 to 1946). Print. Thrustees of the British Museum, London, pp. 303-304.
  4. Sokolov, W.E. 1988. Dictionary of animal names in five language. Mammals. 352p.

Compiled by: S.Gerasimov