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Re: Predator relationships

Michael wrote:
> > From:          Chris Campbell <sankarah@ou.edu>
> > Okay, my source on that was _Walker's Mammals of the World_, which gave
> > sizes for male and female leopards but only a single size for cheetahs
> > in general.
> I'm certain you were quoting correctly.  I was speaking of the
> average cat and when seeing them up close you are more easily
> impressed with the differences in power and weaponry.  There is a
> greater disparity in size between male and female leopards than
> cheetahs.  Also leopards have a greater size variation that cheetahs,
> some apparently due to differences in populations.  Those in the
> Middle East are larger on the average.

Granted, I haven't had that much close up experience with the animals,
but Tim Caro's work indicates the cheetahs of the Serengeti average
about 40 kg and cheetahs of East Africa average around 60 kg.  Are you
indicating the differences in leopards are more distinct than this?

> > > Leopards are the Michael
> > > Jordans of the big cats.  They can easily leap 10feet up in the air
> > > and 20-25 feet horizontally.  They are pound for pound possibly the
> > > strongest of the big cats, and can easily kill a man.  You can walk
> > > with cheetahs, but I wouldn't recommend it with a leopard.
> >
> > I wouldn't recommend it with either, actually.
> It's fairly safe to be around cheetahs.  Leopards no.  The difference
> is ferocity and weaponry.  Cheetahs are not even in the same genus
> as the other cats.

While true, you can say that about lots of cats.  Cougars, for example,
which I wouldn't want to be around.  :)  But yes, cheetahs are
definitely weird.  Guess I'll find out more when (if) I get to go study
them next summer . . .

> > That really depends on the circumstances more than anything else.  If
> > that hyena is truly alone and is tackling a big leopard, it won't get
> > very far.
> In general, leopards will not challenge hyena.  Only lions.  Also
> remember leopards are usually solitary as adults.

True.  This makes them very vulnerable to hyena predation, especially
when the hyenas work in packs.  The origin of the tree caching behavior,
one would assume . . .

> > > BTW, I rechecked, and sabre tooths are not conical but blade like
> > > hence the names dirk and sabre.  At least some were sharp/and or
> > > serrated.
> >
> > I have a cast of a fossil tooth sitting on my desk at the moment and it
> > agrees with you.  I'm wondering where this notion of conical sabre-teeth
> > came from.
> Don't know.  I always thought that lions were successful 25% of the
> time.  That's what everybody said.  That is not correct either.  It's
> 40% for day hunts. ??Perpetuated myth.

Yup.  Part of it depends on how you rate success, too; I've heard that
cheetahs are successful in bringing down some 90% of the animals they
set out to catch (though Caro's work brings that percentage down to
about 25-50%, which makes me wonder where the first figure came from),
but they have a good half or more of their kills stolen so their success
rate dramatically (with Caro's work that would drop the success rate to
around 10-25%, which has gotta make you wonder how these buggers have
managed to hang on for 10,000 years).
All this talk about success rates brings me to something a bit more on
topic: what were the success rates of therapod hunters?  Of course this
is rampant speculation, but the main reason cats fail in their chases is
because the prey outruns them; this presumably wouldn't be much of a
problem for most dino hunters, particularly the dromies.  Any thoughts
on this?