Guest Videos: Assassin’s Kittens! (and Some Real Horror)


Today is the last of the official 12 days of Christmas — let’s go out on a silly note!



Back to the real world:

Videos like that are a very human kind of fun (the kittens seemed to enjoy that exercise, too!).

However, it’s not so enjoyable to think about how ALL cats in the wild must earn a living.

In real life, Family Felidae is a group of professional assassins.

If they weren’t, the world would be a very different place.

Since we are going to return to South America next week, we might as well face facts: cats terrorize those forests, even the cute little guiña, and horrify us when we happen to catch them “shopping” on video.

In this case, it was a Costa Rican jaguarundi tayra and a hapless howler monkey in 2018:



Might want to turn down the volume or remove the earphones. Howler monkeys are LOUD in general, and this one is screaming in terror, as are other members of its troop. But the growls of this little cat tayra — which hunger and/or inexperience have driven into going after prey too large for an easy kill — are impressive, too.


Awful.

Edit: A couple of weeks after posting this, I realized that the hunter is not a cat. Tayras aren’t a color morph of jaguarundis — they are weasels!

The critter’s short, fat tail in this video gives it away.

But what I wrote below about cats is still true.

Yet cats must eat, and in doing what they evolved to do since at least Miocene times, they often serve as keystone species — oddly enough, helping to sustain their ecosystem and shape the modern world.

I can’t find a reliable source on whether the monkey is also a keystone species, but according to this, Latin American forests have declined when cats went locally extinct and the numbers of monkeys and other herbivores rose; on the other hand, howler monkeys in their present numbers help the forest by spreading seeds.

Nature appears simple, but it really is very, very complex.

It’s enough for us to know that our own ancestors — who were not monkeys — endured the ravages of multiple species of sabertooth in Africa for hundreds of thousands of years, as well as attacks from big cats, and yet developed into something humane as well as fun-loving.


Some lagniappe: More Costa Rican wildlife, a few cats doing their thing, and an anteater that has weaponized BO!



Featured image: Catalyst Labs/Shutterstock

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