The courage of Pallas Cats

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…how brave ..and funny.. are these cats?

Meet the Pallas Cat, a.k.a. Otocolobus manul

Pallas cat

Hello. (photo by Terry Whittaker)

It lives in central Asia, high in the steppe. You can find it up to 5000m of altitude. Hence, the thick luscious fur and the large, snowshoe-pads. Somewhat like a snow leopard, but smaller and with geekier eyes.

Pallas cat

The paws. (I couldn´t find the author of the photo, unfortunately, but it is not mine. Also unfortunately)

It eats small mammals (like the Pika, for example) not by stalking or chasing but by ambushing: it waits behind rocks or in crevices and then pounces on the unsuspecting prey. It probably stares at them until they die of fright.

Those eyes.

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An ambush. Clearly. (photo by Balazs Buzas)

The kittens of the Pallas cat remarkably lack the “cuteness” factor, probably because of the lopsided eyes and horrendous noise they emit when unhappy.

The Pallas cat is listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN RedList, due mainly to hunters that seek the cat´s fur, poisoning of their prey (in some regions, small mammals such as the Pika are thought to bring diseases and regularly poisonned) and accidental trapping in snare set for other animals.

What prompted me to write this post is the following video. Originally I found the video in a website that declared it was a wild Pallas cat that discovered a camera trap, however further investigation proved the first site wrong. It is actually a normal camera placed on the outside of the cat´s enclosure in Port Lympne Wild Animal Park (in Kent).

No matter. Wherever the video was shot, it is one of the funniest I have seen so far. In my life. I laughed out loud, literally. And it does show how brave this little feline is. And it´s probably so so so funny because of…well, you know. The eyes.

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