A new species of ‘cat fox’ may be prowling a French island

Posted at 4:07 PM, Jun 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-19 16:07:00-04

There may be a fascinating new species of a fox-like cat, or a cat-like fox, prowling the island of Corsica and yep, it’s already cranky and hates your guts.

Wildlife rangers from France’s National Hunting and Wildlife Office have located 16 of the golden striped creatures in remote areas of the French island.

Wildlife rangers from France’s National Hunting and Wildlife Office have located 16 of the golden striped ‘cat-foxes’ in remote areas of the French island of Corsica.
Full Credit: Pascal Pochard-Casabianca/AFP/Getty Images

The cats are bigger than a typical house cat, and have large, ringed tails and “highly developed” canine teeth. Because of their appearance, they are known locally as chat-renard, or “cat-fox.”

They hunt nocturnally and, from the looks of it, are just thrilled by all of the attention.

The scientists believe that the cat is part of a heretofore unknown species that could have originated in Africa or the Middle East thousands of years ago.

“By looking at its DNA, we could tell it apart from the European wildcat, Felis silvestris silvestris. It’s close to the African forest cat, Felis silvestris lybica, but its exact identity is still to be determined,” Pierre Benedetti, chief environmental technician of the National Hunting and Wildlife Office, told the AFP.

Although the first “cat foxes” were (non-violently) captured in 2016, rangers say secondhand tales of the forest animal have circulated around the island for generations.

The rangers are hoping by capturing, studying and tagging the animals, they can get these cat foxes “recognized and protected” in the next few years.