Answering Search Engine Queries   2 comments

One of the neat things about WordPress is that I can see what terms people are using in search engines to find my blog. Some, like “clouded leopard pictures” are pretty natural and general. Others I seem to have something spot on, such as advice on keeping pens.

However, I often see queries which I think are very good questions, but I don’t think I answer them very well, and there may not be a good, concise answer on the web (many of these are about cats). In the interest of improving my blogging, as well as advocating and educating about the subjects I love, I’ve decided to track the more interesting queries, and periodically answer them. This is the first installment.

hear black footed cat roar

Black Footed MugshotI’m interpreting this as “what does a black footed cat sound like?” I’m afraid they don’t roar.

Black footed cats are a small cat, both in the fact they are the second-smallest cat species, and in the notional divide of “small cat” versus “large cat.” One of the characteristics in this split is the size of the hyoid bone, which connects the tongue to the mouth.

In small cats, the hyoid bone is relatively small and rigid. This allows them to have a bimodal purr–that is, they can produce a near-continous purr, both while inhaling and exhaling. However, it prevents them from opening their throat up wide enough to roar. Big cats, such as lions and tigers, have a larger, relatively flexible hyoid bone. This allows a roar, but they can’t purr. This creates some unusual situations, as cheetahs and cougars, relatively large-sized cats, purr rather than roar. Snow leopards don’t exactly do either.

So what does a black footed cat sound like? I personally haven’t heard one, and could not find a good example. Most references I’ve seen suggest their rage of sounds is more or less the same as house cats–not surprising, given their relatively similar sizes and common genus (felis).

Are clouded leopards and ocelots the same?

Pondering OcelotClouded leopards and ocelots are both amazing cats. They are adapted to live and hunt in trees, and can descend a tree head-first (as opposed to “backing down” like other species). They are both nocturnal hunters, adapted to stalking their at night. They both readily qualify as “small cats.” Unfortunately, like so many wild cats, both are endangered.

While there are many similarities, they are not the same. Clouded leopards are generally larger than ocelots, topping out at fifty pounds (compared to the ocelot, for whom the high end of the range is fourty pounds). Their coats are also very different. Ocelots have a spot/stripe combination, while clouded leopard has the broad, open patches, which inspire their name. Clouded leopards mostly live in the jungles of south-east Asia, where ocelots are new world cats. There have even been ocelot sightings in south-west Texas.

So, while both have many similarities, and probably could have a good time comparing notes on hunting technique, they are not the same animal.

Where is Big Muskie’s bucket?

Rebecca & Caitlin in Big Muskie's BucketGenerally, when I visit a place, I try to link to the place’s web site, to allow more information to be readily gathered. This generally includes information about admission fees, hours, and, of course, directions. For zoos, aquariums, and museums, this is pretty easy. More than once, I’ve dug back to a blog post in order to find the link.

Unfortunately, I didn’t include one on my post about Big Muskie’s bucket. As near as I can tell, there is not find an “official” site for the Minor’s Memorial Park, the resting place of this artifact. Still, I could have provided some insight into where it was, aside from “near the Wilds.” Bad blogger!

The Nobel County, Ohio, tourism web site has a page on the Minor’s Memorial Park, placing it “16 miles West of Caldwell I-77 Exit 25 and right along SR 78.” It can also be found on Google Maps, which can give turn-by-turn directions.

How do leopards and cheetahs sleep?

Cheetah Boys Hangin' OutThey take cat naps.

Seriously, I found this question interesting for a number of reasons. First, it reminded me just how infrequently I’ve see leopards in zoos. Going back over the last couple of years, I know I saw one in San Diego and New Orleans, and I think I saw one in Cleveland. However, I see many more tigers and lions than true leopards. While they are called “leopards” because they are spotted cats, snow leopards and clouded leopards are not true leopards–they are related to leopards only as much as house cats are (same family, different genus and species). I am going to assume they meant true leopards, as they share a habitat with cheetahs.

Second, it is not entirely clear what is meant by “how do they sleep,” but I’ll take a stab at it. Cheetahs are diurnal, meaning they are up during the day, and sleep at night. Leopards, on the other hand, are nocturnal, hunting at night. Leopards are excellent climbers, preferring the safety of branches as a place drag prey up, eat, and sleep. Cheetahs are not good climbers, and will find safe places on the ground to slumber. Researchers are still trying to determine the typical sleep number of both species.

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2 responses to “Answering Search Engine Queries

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  1. Pingback: Answering Search Engine Queries, Volume Two « Mr. Guilt's Blog

  2. Pingback: Saber Saves the Day at the Columbus Zoo | Mr. Guilt's Blog

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