Felis silvestris

  1. Wildlife
  2. Mammals
  3. Wildcat


One of our rarest and most endangered mammals, and the only wild member of the cat family in the UK. Wildcats are restricted to small parts of the Scottish Highlands, where they feed on Rabbits and ground-nesting birds. A very shy animal, almost entirely nocturnal and found on moorland and in woodlands. You have to be extremely lucky to catch a glimpse of a wildcat in the wild.

How to identify

The Wildcat looks very similar to a very large tabby cat, but it is stockier with a fluffier, blunt tail. Distinct banding on the tail and markings on the body enable spotters to tell true Wildcats apart from domestic hybrids.

Where to find it

Only found in the remotest and wildest parts of Scotland.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Wildcats are our most endangered mammal; experts believe there could be as few as 400 left in the wild. Centuries of habitat loss, hunting and persecution have all caused their decline, which continues today due to road deaths and interbreeding with domestic cats. If you

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Felis silvestris
Length: 56cm plus a tail of 29cm Weight: 3-7kg Average lifespan: 8 years
Conservation status
Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, listed under CITES Appendix II and classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.