Recently, a Scotsman who set a trap for what he thought was a fox attacking his chickens, found instead an extremely rare and seldom-sighted Scottish Wildcat in the trap when he checked it the next day.

The art teacher, Dave Harris, said, When I went out the next day I saw the outline of an animal in the pen and just as I went to open the cage, I decided to get a torch. It is just as well, because when I shone the torch at the pen the wildcat started growling (see photo below, right).

It was incredibly angry and it had a deep, deep growl. However, these animals are very rare and I feel lucky to have had the chance to see one up close. But it certainly came as a shock. Harris took the cat to a rescue group and after a vet’s examination, released it to an undisclosed location in the Banff area.

Scottish wildcats are considered the only wild animal that is completely untameable, even when reared in captivity. They are incredibly tough super-predators (think the feline version of Braveheart), and are sometimes called the Tiger of the Highlands. It is Britain’s only remaining large wild predator and walked the Highlands for millions of years before mankind arrived or domestic cats evolved. Sadly, there are fewer than 400 left in existence, and it is expected that the species could be extinct within the next ten years.

They weigh up to 18 lbs., about the size of a large domestic cat, and are distinguished by a large ringed tail, reminiscent of a raccoon’s. This iconic cat is displayed prominently and proudly in Scottish heraldry.

Watch some Scottish Wildcats in motion in this trailer for the Scottish Wildcats’ Assoc. DVD which is being sold to raise money to save this cat from extinction:


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For more info on the Scottish Wildcat, visit the website.

[LINK: The Press and Journal ]

[PHOTO CREDITS: 1) Peter Cairns, the Scottish Wildcat Association; 2) The Press and Journal ]