Mythical Feline Actually Exists

For centuries, its furry tail was the stuff of fairy tales on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica.

Many generations of shepherds recounted sightings of an elusive metre-long, ring-tailed feline with razor-sharp teeth that would attack their ewes and goats at night. Now, scientists believe they have finally identified the animal as an entirely new species dubbed the “cat-fox”.

Called "Ghjattu volpe” by locals and found in the island’s Asco forest, the furry creature resembles a domestic cat in many ways but has distinguishing features, including a black-tipped tail with two to four rings, "very wide" ears, short whiskers and "highly developed" canine teeth. 

“It’s a wonderful discovery,” says Pierre Benedetti of France’s National Hunting and Wildlife agency. “We believe this is a wild natural species - an extremely inconspicuous animal with nocturnal habits.”

The cat-fox had long been part of Corsican shepherds’ mythology, says agency field worker Carlu-Antone Cecchini. “They told stories of how the forest cats would attack the udders of their ewes and goats.”

Not dissimilar to a domestic cat, the ring-tailed feline measures 90 centimetres from head to tail, and its proof of existence is a major relief to shepherds who didn't like accusations of 'crying wolf' or, more accurately, 'crying cat-fox'.

Original source: Telegraph

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