SundayStills photo challenge – Cats – The killing beauty
Big cats facinate me a lot, especially when they are spotted at the least expected time. One of the best from Felidae Family the most comon big cat we have encountered in my home state; the leopards, are so strong and comfortable in trees that it often hauls its kills into the branches. By dragging the bodies of large animals aloft (can drag up to 60kg on to a branch). It hopes to keep them safe from scavengers such as hyenas. Leopards can also hunt from trees, where their spotted coats allow them to blend with the leaves until they spring with a deadly pounce.
When human settlements are present, leopards often attack dogs and, occasionally, people.
Leopards are strong swimmers and very much at home in the water, where they sometimes eat fish or crabs.
The usual hunting technique is classically feline. When it sights a potential target it stalks forward with head low and legs bent making clever use of cover. Once it is within a range of about 10 meters, this cat dashes forward and uses the sharp, hooked claws of each forepaw to kill their prey. The killing bite is directed at the nape of the neck or at the throat, a single swipe with their paw can scoop a good part of your body.
In kerala near Valparai we have spotted couple of times this creature once at night & once day time. It seemed very small (as to my expectations) and shy, but as if it is very accustomed to ongoing vehicles. At night on our way to Munnar via Chalakudy/Vaalparai/Anamali/Pollachi route we witnessed the animal trying to cross the road but hided back to the bush and waiting for our SUV to pass by. I learned at Vaalparai leopards have took life of 9 human beings so far including kids. Couple of Leopards were caught/killed (due to stress or suffocation after they were caught by locals). This particular route/drive is one of the dangerous and most risky ride anyone can try especially at night. Wild elephants in Valparai are considered to be very notorious and aggressive.