Separately, cats and foxes rank pretty high on the list of adorable (if not always cuddly) animals. And if you combined them into one animal?
…I don’t know. The internet might actually break.
And it turns out we’re going to learn whether or not the web can stand such cuteness, because the mysterious ghjattu-volpe – the cat-fox – has been confirmed to exist.
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Feline lovers, rejoice – a new species of cat has been identified in Corsica! Experts say the “cat-fox” is an “extremely inconspicuous animal with nocturnal habits” which is why it hasn’t been scientifically identified before. With 16 roaming around the Mediterranean island, the furry creatures have wider ears, short whiskers and “high developed canine teeth”. The cats’ distinct striped markings, dark tails and russet stomachs have given them their name but relatively little is known about the species. The cat-foxes are being fitted with identification chips so that researchers can continue to learn about the exciting animals. Words: @meaghanjspencer 📷 Pascal Pochard-Casabianca / AFPPhoto / @GettyImages #Corsica #Mediterranean #CatFox #Cats #CatsOfInstagram #CatLovers #Felines #Catstagram #Kittens #Animals #Wildlife #NewSpecies #Fox #Foxes #CatStuff
Corsican shepherds have spoken about the creature as mythical for centuries, with scared farmers spotting them only in the dead of night, but now we know it’s not a myth at all.
It’s also not a fox at all, but a new species of wildcat, scientists believe.
There are two recognized species of wildcat – the European wildcat and the African wildcat – and a number of subspecies. Pierre Benedetti, chief environmental technician of ONCFS in Corsica, spoke with the AFP about whether the cat-fox could be a new species or subspecies of wildcat.
“By looking at its DNA, we could tell it apart from the European wildcat. It’s close to the African forest cat, but its exact identity is still to be determined.”
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Meet Cat-Fox. First captured in 2016, and now studies on them are being publicly discussed this past week. Visually, this new species looks like a cat. Genetically though, this is a fully fledged canine Fox. This is not a crossbreed. It is a new species of Fox. #cat #fox #foxcat #catfox
Even if the cat-fox is not ever recognized as a new species, France’s National Hunting and Wildlife Office hopes that identifying the “mythical” beast could help protect it, and also raise awareness of how is has managed to survive all of these years.
“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.”
As of now, we only know that it’s rather adorable, sleeps during the day, and is related to the wildcats of the world. With time and research, conservationists hope to learn more about its behavior, diet, the size of the population, and other facts that could help them ensure its safety for years to come.
The world needs more cats, obviously. Especially ones that look like foxes.