Meet the World's Deadliest Cat

The black-footed cat can stalk prey like no other
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2018 5:10 PM CST
Updated Nov 10, 2018 3:52 PM CST
Meet the World's Deadliest Cat
A black-footed cat.   (Getty Images)

The world's deadliest cat is no leopard or tiger—in fact, it's the size of a house cat and appears just as cuddly. But the black-footed cat of southern Africa can hunt the grasslands like no other, Live Science reports. The PBS series Super Cats follows them on nightly forays, showing how they hunt and explaining why they kill more prey in a night than a leopard does in half a year. German zoo curator Luke Hunter helped by fitting several black-footed cats with radio collars, enabling the crew to track them in tall grasses. "If you're a gazelle or a wildebeest, a black-footed cat isn't at all deadly," says Hunter, who has studied the cats since the 1990s. "But those success rates make them the deadliest little cat on Earth."

And the black-footed cat has tricks. It can hunt by bounding randomly through grass, sneaking up on prey in a weaving pattern, or waiting patiently by burrows for a meal to emerge. They can "wait for up to 2 hours, absolutely immobile, just silently waiting at the burrow for a rodent to appear," Hunter says. "And then they nab it." They kill 10 to 14 small birds and rodents nightly, or about one every 50 minutes—a constant hunt necessary to supply their active metabolisms. Like most felines in the series, the black-footed cat is endangered, but Hunter accentuates the positive: "I believe it's mostly not doom and gloom," he says, but "if we don't work to reduce those threats, then we could lose some of these animals." See the episode at PBS. (Or see why a judge has halted grizzly bear hunts around Yellowstone National Park.)

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