Saturday 26 September 2020

World's most dangerous cat?

The answer depends upon whether you are referring to people or animals. If you're referring to the most dangerous cat species in respect of small animals then you will go for the black-footed cat. This cute looking and diminutive wild cat species is considered to be the most efficient hunter of all the cats. They hunt relentlessly, mainly at night. 

Lions lose teeth in old age through hard usage. Picture: Ernest Porter.

So to small mammals and birds this fast hunting and relentlessly efficient cat is highly dangerous. They employ three methods one of which is called "fast hunting". The cat jumps along through tall grass flushing out prey. Another method is to sit outside the burrow exit and entrance and wait for the animal to emerge. They can stay immobile for two hours (reminds me of my domestic cat). The third method is in between these two in which the cat employs a careful weaving action as they walk through their habitat sneaking up on potential prey.

If the question relates to people then you have to say that the world's most dangerous cat is one of the big cats. You would have to choose the tiger or lion. Their sheer power can prove fatal very quickly. There are numerous stories of zookeepers either making mistakes or being reckless in their interactions with captive tigers. Quickly the tiger can kill a zookeeper with a bite to the neck.

I don't think the bite force of the cat is particularly relevant because all the big cats have a very strong bites. The jaguar has the hardest bite of the big cats. They can bite through the shell of turtles. They got to have strong canine teeth as well! I'm sure that you will see jaguars with broken teeth. Lions often are broken teeth as well in their old age. Perhaps their bite is too strong for their teeth.

At the time of writing this there are no individual cats that are notoriously dangerous. When there were more big cats in Africa and more conflicts between them and humans, it was more likely that an individual big cat could be regarded as a man-eater. These were often injured cats forced to prey on humans (easy prey). The cats were tracked down and shot by specialist hunters often white men described as big game hunters. One such person was Jim Corbett. He has a tiger reserve named after him in India.

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