Europe, India, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Africa (except the Sahara Desert)
Rocky outcrops, coniferous forest, broadleaf woodlands
Gray-brown fur with tabby stripes that can be quite long and thick. They are usually marked with white patches on their bellies and between their forelegs, with a white throat patch. Unlike domestic cats, wildcats have tails that are bushy and blunt-ended.
Solitary, both males and females maintain territories. They usually hunt at night, stalking their prey silently, and pouncing from close range to kill with their teeth and sharp claws. By day, they hide in the cover of rocks, reed beds or thick bushes.
After a gestation period of about 65 days, the female gives birth to 2 or 3 kittens in a secluded den. The young suckle for about a month and begin to accompany their mother on hunting trips when they are 3 months old. The young are independent by the time they are 6 months old, and are sexually mature at 1 year. The male plays no part in rearing the young.
Don't these cats look like your pet cat at home? Thousands of years ago, people were taming wildcats. Domestic cats, first seen in Egyptian art about 3,500 B.C., descended from such wildcat populations.