Cretan Wild Cat

Felix silvestris - the cretan wild cat

In numerous locations of our planet the questionable existence of certain rare animals has given rise to tales and legends.

In this respect, there are tales about ghost-animals which haunt entire regions and have a strong impact on every day life and customs.

In the case of the wild cat of Crete (Felix silvestris) the facts are happily different. No incidents of attack on humans have been reported, nor does the animal resemble a monster of any kind.

Since the capture of one such cat, scientific interest is mounting. However, the title of "ghost" has been retained by the species since the only information we have had about this animal until recently has come from two pelts purchased by Englishman D. Bate, a member of a scientific expedition, in 1905.

On April 10, 1996 an Italian expedition from the University of Perugia came to Crete with the aim of studying the carnivorous fauna of Crete.

Cretan Wild Cat

It was then that the "ghost animal", the legend, took flesh and blood. The wild cat of Crete was captured in a trap. The existence of this animal was not in question; rather, its capture gave a new perspective to the origins of the Cretan fauna.

Scientists are now testing two prevailing hypotheses:

a) either the wild cat existed on Crete prior to the separation of Crete from the neighboring mainland, or

b) the animal was brought to Crete for domestication by the first settlers, but later it ran wild again.

from STIGMES Magazine