Miguel del Pino: Cats and robbers

Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente used to award striking nicknames to some of the creatures most curious of our native fauna: the genet was the “beautiful killer”, the “wolf” the outcast”, or the lynx “the phantom of the rock roses”. For the cat qualification most suitable for their habits and the surprising capacity predatory, it would be the “bandit”.

Not in vain in the immortal Spanish opera maestro Penella’s “El gato montés”, recently staged in the National Theatre of the Zarzuela, the robber Hans, a rival bullfighter’s protagonist, is dubbed “The wild cat” by the locals in their environment.

The wild Cat iberian, Felis silvestris, is a beautiful feline that compete with lynx for the post of feline predator of our mountains. The wildcat is still more difficult to see and track than the lynx, given their habits almost strictly nocturnal, and its character is unsociable and lonely.

The great cat, whose males can reach six or seven pounds of weight, is of a wild beauty and very feline; their external appearance is comparable to that of a domestic cat tabby, but is distinguished from them all by its formidable tail, with black stripes, and its head rather more bulky.

Until the development of the techniques of genetic identification by DNA analysis was not easy to distinguish the different subspecies and breeds of small cats included in the genus Felis. All Felis are animals of small size compared with its relatives of the genus Panthera (tigers, leopards and other big cats)

A common feature of all the Felis is that they are maulladores, while the Panthera are rugidores; this difference has significance for the classification of the great family of felids: the maulladores have very ossified the apparatus suspending the larynx, that’s why it can vibrate, while the rugidores present the device is only partially ossified, so that he trembles, reverberates, and gives rise to the roar.

There are cats in the wild, or Felis, distributed through Eurasia, Africa and America. When our cat form the subspecies Felis silvestris silvestris, with a cousin in the north of Africa, Felis silvestris lybica, which is considered today as the ancestor of the domestic cat, maybe with some exception in certain breeds of cats asian.

Regardless of their genetic relationship, a few similarities of behavior are seen between the wild cat iberian and his cousins at home; the real mountain is indomesticable by surly and solitary, and were it not for their small size would have to be considered a formidable predator, though never attack the man.

Nor does the man usually attacks the wild cat, among other reasons, because it almost never is aware of your neighborhood, when they live in some mountain, next to the villages. It is strictly a hunter of small wild animals, especially rodents, and they rarely predate on domestic animals.

You can accidentally be in the vicinity of the houses to look for a partner between cats domestic, when you do not have females of their species in the mount.

The hybridization gives frequently rise to the presence in the mountains of gatazos maroons in that it is not easy to determine the genetic purity, specific.

The forest fires, the felling of forests and the extension of the areas of arable are the main enemies of the wild cat, which is usually not considered part hunting. The species is vulnerable, but not considered in danger of extinction, shall we say prudently that… for the moment.

Some of the habits of our domestic cats are closer to their kin of north Africa, Felis silvestris lybica, which our cat ancestral Felis silvestris silvestris, although we find paradoxes such as the aversion to the water for our domestic, while its ancestor official north african is a formidable fisherman. It is possible that it has to be further investigated.

Pamper you with many reason to the lynx and what we do the object of conservation plans and even breeding in captivity, in as much that we don’t have similar plans for the wildcat iberian; it is possible that the latter still don’t need them but you must be careful for if any next census sheds alarm signals and is already too late, as has happened with other species.

Hidden in the depths of the forest, and occupying some old burrow abandoned or even the hollow trunk of the old trees, the female bobcat will give birth to her litter in the months of march and April: some come to the eight cubs, but the most common is that they do not exceed three individuals that the mother-rearing solo.

Although it may seem cliché to say that this species is largely unknown between the call major fauna ibérica; only for its beauty, it would be worth keeping, but is that furthermore it is a formidable predator of rodents, and therefore of a good friend of the farmer, for the that usually go unnoticed.

In terms of the leaf of services of his cousin the house cat, remember that it is another hunter, and fisherman, whose friendship, interested, and man also stems from his traditional skill as a predator of rodents, although at present it is more appreciated by his purrs like a tender pet, which will never come to be a true and crabby cat.

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