A new species of cat has been discovered, a cat-fox cross looks like your usual cat but also is similar to a fox. It has now been given official recognition as its own distinct species.
The Mediterranean Island Of Corsica holds only 16 of the cats so now wildlife experts are attempting to make them a protected species.
The cat-fox cross have wider ears, short whiskers and ‘highly developed canine teeth’.
Called Ghjattu volpe, the species have striped front legs and tails, dark back legs and a red stomach.
Their dense fur helps them fight off fleas and ticks.
Chief environmental technician of the National Hunting and Wildlife Office Pierre Bendetti said:
“We believe that it’s a wild natural species which was known but not scientifically identified because it’s an extremely inconspicuous animal with nocturnal habits.”
Charles-Antone Cecchini, who works with Bendetti at the National Hunting and Wildlife Office, said:
“The cat-fox is part of our shepherd mythology. From generation to generation, they told stories of how the forest cats would attack the udders of their ewes and goats.”
One of the cats were ‘caught unexpectedly’ after wandering into a chicken coop in 2008, since then they have discovered more.
Spending a decade researching the species, Benedetti, said:
“By looking at its DNA, we could tell it apart from the European wildcat, Felissilvestrissilvestris. It’s close to the African forest cat, Felissilvestrislybica, but its exact identity is still to be determined.”
Researchers were able to capture one in 2016.
Benedetti believes the cats could have been brought over by farmers in 6,500 BC, which
This means the cats have their origins in the middle east.