Hayling Island Swamp Cat

Swamp cat

How it came to be there is a complete mystery...

This swamp cat (Felis chaus), sometimes also known as a jungle cat or reed cat, was killed by a car in West Lane on Hayling Island, Hampshire, in July 1988.

How it came to be there is a complete mystery as the species is normally found from Lower Egypt, through the Middle East, to most of Asia. The swamp cat is common in parts of India. There it is found in a range of habitats including woodlands, reed beds and cornfields.

Swamp cats eat a variety of small mammals and birds and may even scavenge around human habitation but are not dangerous.

Further reported sightings since this one was killed suggest that there may be at least one other animal still at large on Hayling Island!

Quick Facts

  • Accession number HMCMS:Bi1997.14
  • Dimensions Length 95cm
  • Specimen prepared by Mark Winston-Smith (taxidermist)
  • Date cat killed July 1988
  • Place cat killed West Lane, Hayling Island


  • The swamp cat specimen was prepared for display by taxidermist Mark Winston-Smith.
  •  Swamp cats hunt both day and night. They often climb trees and will also dive for fish.

Did you know?

The swamp cat is possibly the only cat that barks!

Fact Sheets

Find out more about swamp cats

More on taxidermy

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