Biology

Size

  • weight: males 3.8–7.3kg, females 2.4–4.7kg
  • length (head to tail tip): males 82–98cm, females 73–90cm

Life expectancy in the wild is 5–8 years, and in captivity is up to 15 years.

Reproduction

Mating takes place in February to March and the gestation period is about 65 days.

Litters of 2–4 kittens (although it can vary from 1–7) are born between April and May in a den amongst rocks or in an abandoned fox earth, badger sett or rabbit warren. Births later in the year are possible if an earlier litter is lost.

The mother brings live prey to the den from about 3 weeks, and stops feeding with her milk at around 6–7 weeks.

Kittens may follow their hunting mother from 10 weeks old.

They start to leave their mothers at about 5 months to find their own home ranges over the winter, but continue growing until they are about 10 months old.

Both males and females can breed at 1 year, although males in particular are unlikely to breed until they have established their own home range.

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