When you love animals as much as we do, Nat Geo WILD’s Big Cat week is the most wonderful time of the year. This week, Nat Geo flooded the airwaves with content and profiled the big cats we love most. Here are our favorite facts from Big Cat Week.
1. Domestic cats and big cats are very similar.
Your pet cat might look cute and cuddly, but it actually shares a lot of the same traits as a big cat. For one, they groom each other as a way to bond. Additionally, they have some of the best night vision of all the animals. Their sense of smell is also one of the best, with about 200 million scent receptors on their noses. That’s how your cat always knows when there’s food on the table.
2. Female lions prefer brunettes.
Just like humans, lions are innately attracted to partners with strong, healthy genes. A lion’s mane is a big indicator of overall nutrition and hormone levels. Those with a darker mane are healthier and have more testosterone – making them the prime candidates for mating.
3. The cheetah matchmaker is coming to the cats’ rescue.
Populations of cheetahs are rapidly declining. It’s estimated that there are currently 7,100 cheetahs living in the wild, down from 14,000 in 1975. Conservationist Vincent van der Merwe, also referred to as the “cheetah matchmaker,” is hoping to help these cats by taking two cheetahs from distant populations to produce stronger cubs.
4. Big cats are running out of safe places to live.
Lions may be some of the most powerful creatures in the animal kingdom, but that doesn’t mean life is easy for them. They face many challenges in today’s world of poaching and habitat loss. They’re running out of safe places to live, and it’s impacting their population levels as a result.
5. Leopards are probably better than you at fishing.
It doesn’t matter how many years of fishing experience you have – leopards do it better. Equipped with impeccable night vision and quick instincts, leopards are able to attack their prey by diving mouth-first into the water and sinking their teeth into their next meal.
If you like learning about big cats, you would love seeing them in person. Thomson Safaris’ Wildlife Safari is our most animal-focused trip, with 10 days of wildlife viewing in Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and Serengeti.