Ten facts about wild felids

June 25, 2014 • 2:36 pm

From Earth Unplugged we get ten facts about wild cats (actually, there are more than ten, since there are many sub-facts). As far as I know from the felid module in my brain, they are all correct—execpt that one claim seems deeply dubious. Can you guess which one?

The narrator notes that the clouded leopard “makes noises somewhere between a purr and a roar.” Want to hear them? Go to this site, which has all kinds of felid vocalizations, and click on “clouded leopard” (the very first clip). It doesn’t sound like a purr-roar to me, but rather like the noise the demon-afflicted girl made in The Exorcist.

Actually, you should listen to all the sound clips; they’re quite provocative, and some are scary!

h/t: Steve

28 thoughts on “Ten facts about wild felids

    1. Yeah, that’s 28 feet or ~1.75 Galveston Seawalls. I don’t think any animal can leap even one seawall.

  1. I once bought a CD-ROM of sound effect clips, and when I started playing around with it, I found a whole bunch of cat sounds (including a cat throwing up). I started playing them, and soon my cat Freti showed up. I have to explain about Freti. He was a street cat who had been captured by a shelter from which I adopted him. After he got used to living indoors, he became a mother hen to the other household cats – he once alerted me to the fact that his big brother Thorbjorn was trapped in a closet.

    So in response to the computer-generated meows, Freti spent the next half-hour meticulously searching my office for the cat he could plainly hear but could not find. He climbed the shelves, examined the closet and checked all the file drawers.

    Freti died on 13 June 2008, aged nineteen, a loving companion to his last breath.

    1. That’s a sweet story!

      I raised a baby robin that fell out of the nest. I wanted the robin to hear robin sounds so I played a computer program that played different bird sounds. The robin liked the robin sounds & got chatty with the faux robin. I played a hawk & the robin hunkered down & got quiet. That hawk stuff is all built in – doesn’t need learning!

  2. Major laugh! I played the sound tape and the 2 kittehs who were sleeping in the living room bee-lined upstairs and hid under the bed! A little too threatening for them.

    1. My cat always runs to the windows when she hears cat noises. She doesn’t run to where the sound is coming from, but instead to where unknown cats have been observed in the past.

      1. That’s interesting; reminds me of my cat. I made a video of New Year’s fireworks on the street, and when I played it a week later on the television set, he did not look at the television, but through the window up in the air. He never paid attention to the tv, but was somewhat traumatized by his experience with rockets(flares) exploding in the sky.

  3. Luis Suárez is probably jealous of the clouded leopard’s teeth!

    Bam! Cross thread rim shot!

  4. Perhaps the hair on the ear tips of the Caracal promoting better hearing? hmmmm don’t see how that would work. Beautiful animals, all…and sounds.

      1. I stopped when I got to that point as I felt sure that was the dodgy fact – still got beaten to it though. Also not sure why sweating through paws would help a sprinting cheetah – as far as I know they just pant heavily after a chase, just like d*gs

        1. Yes. And I saw a recent documentary explaining that cheetahs really heat up when in a sprint. They cannot dump the heat fast enough, and this factors into limiting how far they can go for a run.

        2. That one jumped out to me too. Most of the other facts were things that could be observed or measured, while this one was speculation. But now I’m curious about what is the survival advantage of spikes of hair on the ears? Whiskers can pick up vibrations, if my cat knowledge is correct, but.would lumps of hair at the tips of ears be sensitive enough for that?

  5. The caracal’s tufts acting as antennae. But also it was claimed that there are all-black pumas. In every credible source I’ve ever seen, this is described as a “rural legend,” existing only on the helmets of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.

      1. Yes. That is not the name of the genes that make the forms of the pigment, but I don’t think that was what Jerry was referencing.

  6. Melanin isn’t a gene, now is it? That stood out for me.

    Nice kitteh pics in this video. The clouded leopard and the melanistic panther/leopard were my favorites.

  7. There are several dubious claims.
    1 – The lion’s roars is the loudest at 114 (or 140?) db? A sperm whale can click at 170 to 190 db, although admittedly not really a roar, it is far louder.
    2 – I doubt whether the sweat on the paws’ main function is keeping cool.
    3 – The antenna speculation of the caracal (called rooikat here in SA and sadly still considered vermin by many, particularly ‘animal farmers’) ear tufts. Would there be a very sensitive receptor at the base of these hairs? What do they mean by ‘antenna’ in this context anyway?
    4 – The grater on cat’s tongues is not really helping in drinking, cats scoop water with their tongue bent ‘backwards’.
    5- the 9 meter vertical jump and the 50 m horizontal jump appear mistaken, shouldn’t that be feet?
    5 – Although photos of black leopards and jaguars are commonly seen, I haven’t seen any of black pumas yet. It is not necessarily a dubious claim, but melanism must be rare in pumas and I would have loved to see some footage.

  8. And the clouded leopards claim to the biggest relative tooth size is only valid if we look exclusively at extant cats: no Smilodon and its many cousins, no more…

  9. Well, since the video asked us to list our favorite cat-facts, mine’s that the jaguar has the strongest bite of any living cat and the second strongest bite of any carnivore (after the spotted hyena).

    Turtle nom!

  10. I don’t know about the siberian tiger thing. I’ve always thought that liger, though not a specie, is the largest cat.

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