To Combat Big Cats, Aussies Deploy Bad Dogs

Australia's Northern Territory overrun with enormous felines

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 29, 2013 12:17 PM CDT

(Newser) – This just in: Australia's been taken over by enormous cats. Well, sort of: The country's Northern Territory is apparently overrun with feral cats that weigh up to 45 lbs; to smaller creatures, they're basically killing machines, Vice reports, alongside a pretty stunning image. It's posing a threat to the area's biodiversity. "Even a small cat will eat several birds, reptiles, or mammals in a 24-hour period," says a land official. "So you do the math on that, one cat might be eating 2,000 animals a year."

Indeed, "the amount of animals inside these cats is staggering," says a researcher. "One that was culled had the remains of two sugar gliders, a velvet gecko, a bird, and some insects—that’s just one cat, over one day." What's more, they're smart: "Very secretive, very cryptic," says the official. There is one weapon against them, however, and it depends on "basic Warner Bros. cartoon logic," as Vice puts it. Scientists are sending highly specialized dogs to track the felines. "They’ve got a sense of smell and a sense of taste that is more than 100,000 times more powerful than ours, so they can follow tracks extremely effectively," says the official.

Giant cats are taking over northern Australia.
Giant cats are taking over northern Australia.   (Shutterstock)
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