Friday, October 19, 2007

Big Bearcat Attack

There are very few not-cat critters at Big Cat Rescue. I already showed you one (two, actually), and this is the other. This handsome fellow is a bearcat, also known as a binturong. These critters are native to Asia where they spend most of their time in the trees trying to look cute. OK, maybe they don't work at the cuteness, but that's only because they don't have to. They're mostly nocturnal, put this guy was puttering around for some reason, maybe just being curious about all the tourists. I didn't really get a great picture of his whole body, but he's about 2-1/2 feet long, plus a tail of about the same length that's prehensile. He can do plenty of stuff with that big bushy tail. They eat mostly anything, but stick to smaller things they find in the trees. And if I remember right, their musk smells like popcorn...

Big Cat Attack, Part 19

Thankfully, the next tiger on the tour didn't look at me like I would make a nice aperitif. He did, however, seem to have it in for one of the keepers. He was actively stalking the guy, crouching down behind the available cover in his enclosure, pacing back and forth as the volunteer cleaned a nearby cage. Eventually the poor fellow got close enough, and this tiger took off like a flash in that direction. I'm not entirely sure he was just playing... Anyhow, the enclosures are pretty strong, so no harm was done. We were told that the same scenario plays out pretty much every day, but only between this tiger and that specific volunteer. Everybody has to have a hobby, I guess.

Big Cat Attack, Part 18

Here's another tiger from Big Cat Rescue. This guy made me nervous, the way he kept looking right at me and licking his lips. Of all the cats they had at this place, tigers were the only ones they said eat people on a regular basis. Other cats might occasionally attack humans, but they never actually eat them.

Big Cat Attack, Part 17

Four more pics of the same tiger that I showed you here. This guy was just begging for his picture to be taken, and I was happy to oblige.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Big Cat Attack, Part 16

Great series of shots here, featuring the same lioness I just showed you. She broke out into a huge yawn, and I got several shots of it in process. Don't look too close, or you'll see that the camera is actually focused on the wire cage and not her face, which is maybe a foot or two beyond. It's not what I would like, but it's still a great series of pictures. I can't catch my own cat yawning like this, so I counted my self very lucky to catch a full grown lioness with a lack of sleep.

Hmm, are yawns a popular subtext here at the blog? They show up more than once...

Big Cat Attack, Part 15

I think this is the first lioness I've shown you from Big Cat Rescue. She's certainly a pretty kitty, and big too, with a body length of almost six feet, not counting the tail! And she's got a little junk in the trunk, so to speak. Check out those haunches in the third picture. I suppose that's all there so she can run you down and kill you if you don't show the proper respect. I wish the wire wasn't in the middle of all these pictures. Someday I'm going to have to break down and take the special photo tours they offer. I don't think you can actually get into any of the cages, but maybe they allow you a little more flexibility in composing your shots. Those tours are a little expensive, but if you want that special shot, I'm sure it's worth it.

Big Cat Attack, Part 14

This guy was great. Back and forth he strutted, back and forth, just keeping an eye on things. This was probably the oldest tiger they have at Big Cat Rescue, and unfortunately, he's probably not much longer for this Earth. Take a look at the picture at the bottom of this post, and you can see how skinny and frail he's become in his old age. But he's still up and around, keeping his big paws in the game, making sure that the tourists get a good look at him. At least he's in a place where he can live out his life in peace.


I pointed out white patches on the backs of the ears of several cats in the past few posts. This one is on the ear of a tiger. Turns out that these patches serve a similar function in big cats as they do in moths. It gives the impression that you're being watched when you aren't. Dumber animals can't tell the difference between real eyes and these white patches that move and twitch as if they were looking at something. But it turns out that these 'eyes' are just listening in the other direction. Pretty sneaky, huh?

Big Cat Attack, Part 13

Here's the fiercest looking picture yet from my trip to Big Cat Rescue last Saturday. But I assure you it's not ferocity you're seeing, but a big yawn. This leopard was too busy wondering what time breakfast was to be snarling at anyone. I felt pretty lucky to catch the yawn in mid-stream. Makes for a great picture, doesn't it?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Big Cat Attack, Part 12

I couldn't resist throwing up some more pictures of the big black leopard.

Big Cat Attack, Part 11

Probably the hardest of the cats to photograph was this black leopard. The camera just will not properly expose for the black coloration, yielding photographs where the fur either comes out too light or just a black hole with no features at all. I think I finally got it right this time, so these shots came out pretty nice. You can even see that she's not really black all over, but actually has the spotted pattern common to most leopards, only her spots are black-on-black. She is beautiful, though, whether in photographs or in person.

Big Cat Attack, Part 10

These are the first cats I've posted who's species I can't remember. Again, two individuals, one in their den, and another sprawled out against the cage. If I weren't so lazy, I'd go over to the Big Cat Rescue website and flip around until I found their name...

OK, I looked. I think they are caracals.

Big Cat Attack, Part 9

Here's a little bobcat action for you. I think a bobcat is the only big cat I've ever seen in the wild, and then it was only for a second as it crossed the road in front of me years ago. These guys were much easier to spot, and they weren't running away. I think these are two different cats, one above in the den, and the guy below in a tree. The story goes that bobcats don't spend time in trees, but this fellow does because it gives him a great view of the path taken by the cart that brings lunch every day.

Not A Big Cat

You might recall the press about the SARS virus a few years ago, and how it was going to take over the world and kill us all. Well, the virus was supposedly being spread by people in China eating civets that were infected with something that jumped to humans and became SARS. Well, these are civets. Cute enough, they hardly seem like the threat they were made out to be. I learned at Big Cat Rescue that they aren't really cats, but I don't know exactly what they are, I'm afraid.

The Anti-Blog

I learned from an episode of The Flintstones that everyone in the world has a look-a-like somewhere. And I think it was The Simpsons that established the evil twin deal. Well, guess what? There's an anti-matter version of the blog out there! Who knew? Go check it out. It's run by a guy named Bert, and it's called Not Ernie. Go figure...

Big Cat Attack, Part 8

The white tiger was playing games with the volunteers, stalking them as they carried food or water back and forth. Not that she did such a good job of it, mind you. It's hard for a white tiger to hide behind bushes. And there was no snow to be had anywhere around.