Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Most Amazing Predators You've Never Heard Of

(I wrote this post yesterday, but heard the tragic news when I was about to publish it, so I held off. I would hold off further, but I'm heading out to Zimbabwe now and it could be a while before I have connectivity.)

On Sunday, I visited the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Center. This remarkable facility specializes in breeding highly endangered animals. Amongst the various creatures were some that I had never seen before, which doesn't happen often. Bet you've never seen one of these:

It's a King Cheetah. This is a creature whose nature and even existence was hotly debated for a long time. At De Wildt's it was discovered that the king cheetah is a mutation of regular cheetahs, in which the spots blend into stripes.

Here's another animal that one doesn't usually see, though I once saw one in the wild:

It's an African Wild Dog, the most endangered predator in Africa. Here's a video that I took of them eating. The speed at which they wolf their food down is astonishing. In The Torah Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom, I'll be discussing certain Midrashic sources dealing with this phenomenon.

Yesterday, the Torah In Motion group arrived. We toured Soweto, which was very powerful. In a few minutes, we head out to Zimbabwe. I'm not sure what internet access will be like there, but I hope to be able to post photos of a certain very special experience.

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  1. These look so much like hyenas.How is there behavior different from typical hyenas? Other than coloring, what else distinguishes their behavior from typical hyenas? I definitely see how their color is an adaptation suited for their environment.

    1. Both dogs and hyenas are members of order carnivora, and so they share a number of anatomic and physiologic attributes, but that doesn't make the latter canines because there are many families of carnivora. Check out the Wikipedia article on hyenas to learn more. Even the intro paragraphs actually go into this a little bit.


  2. The Cheetah is certainly well camouflaged and blends in with the background!

  3. I definitely see how their color is an adaptation suited for their environment.
    I see how their color is suited, stam, for their environment. Whether it's an "adaption" or not is not certain.

    1. Fine, fine.

      But before you fret over the word "adaptation" remember that it is משתמע לתרי לישני. For Dawkins it is atheistic and meaningless. Lehavdil for Radal, a main מעתיק תורת הגרא בנסתר, it is divine and purposeful.

  4. African wild dogs are not related to hyenas. They are true canids. They are pack hunters, much like wolves and other dogs and capture their prey by pursuit.


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