Infographic – deadliest hunters on land

I would refer to this data as a good guideline only. Maybe it is fairly accurate but it seems that the information comes from specific studies which may not be wise as they may be skewed. It is not wise to take one or two studies and extrapolate the data to the entire species. I do know that the black-footed cat is regarded as the most successful feline hunter which fits in nicely with the Infographic. Black-footed cats look like tabby domestic cats 😊. They don’t behave like tabby domestic cats. They are very energetic and committed predators. You can see an infographic for the black-footed cat at the base of the page.

They are the smallest of the African wild cat species and weigh about 2 kg. Therefore, they are quite a lot smaller than the average domestic cat. They are very secretive and strictly nocturnal. In the day they rest in dense cover. They cover a lot of ground when hunting. They have three different hunting styles: the fast hunt, slow hunting and sit and wait. Most of their prey animals are gerbils, mice and shrews. They represent 39% of their prey base. 21% of prey captured consist of small birds. They also eat insects.

Deadliest hunters on land on the planet
Deadliest hunters on land on the planet. Click for a larger version.

The domestic cat is put down as a kill rate of 32%. The data appears to come from Australia. I’m not sure that that is typical across the planet. It probably isn’t. A lot of domestic cats don’t even want to hunt. Nonetheless, the Infographic does compare quite nicely the cat with other species.

Black-footed cat
Black-footed cat. Montage by MikeB.

The poor kill rate of the tiger is perhaps surprising to some. This is probably an estimate. I say that because perhaps the best book on the wild cat species tells me that “there are few reliable estimates of how often tigers make a kill”. That information is dated 2002. Early literature from India contains estimates that a tiger kills between 52-122 animals per year. In one tiger reserve in India, they estimated that a tigress makes 45 kills per year. The authors of Wild Cats of the World do not provide a success rate for the tiger which, as mentioned, is indicative of the difficulty in obtaining reliable data.

It seems that the dragonfly is considered to be the world’s most successful hunter. They can even hunt effectively when missing an entire wing. They say that they are very good at “selective attention”. My understanding is that this means they can focus on a prey item and be ruthless in killing it. Selective attention is normally linked to higher order thinking. The dragonfly brain is quite simple with less than a million neurons compared to the human brain of 100 billion neurons.

The dragonfly is, therefore, hardwired to be a killer. They can track a moving target, calculate an intercepting trajectory and adjust their path when needed. The experts say that they have a master circuit of 16 neurons which connect the dragonfly’s brain to its flight motor centre in the thorax (The Times).

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Post Category: Behavior