Tigers and leopards do not drink blood

book_cover_1546NEW DELHI: Do tigers drink blood? No, says a naturalist duo who seeks to demystify the popular perception about big cats and several other mysteries of nature.

“Tigers and leopards do not drink blood. These carnivores do not have any mechanism to suck blood when they kill their prey. The solid, tapered (conical) canines are so tightly fixed on the throat or nape of the prey that there is no space for blood to be spilled out or to be sucked,” say Arefa Tehsin and Raza H Tehsin.

The duo have come out with their new book “Do Tigers Drink Blood? And 13 Other Mysteries of Nature”. “These cats spend a lot of energy in stalking prey and lose a good amount of body fluid by perspiration. Once it kills the prey, the cat gets the mental satisfaction of having secured its food and its thirst overpowers its hunger.

“Many times it leaves the kill at a secure place and goes to drink water or rest. This habit made some naturalists (falsely) conclude that after sucking blood the beast has satisfied its hunger for the time being,” says the book.

The authors say that few other reasons have made naturalists think that big cats drink blood. These are tigers or leopards hanging on to their prey for long to ensure that the prey is dead and the act of gulping saliva which gives a false impression that the cats are sucking blood, they say.

The book, published by Red Turtle, also looks at the behavior of some other animals.

Why does the hare eat its own droppings? “Rabbits and hares cannot nibble on grass and other vegetation at leisure in the open areas as they have many predators. So they need to eat their food in a hurry. They quickly eat herbs, shoots, fruits, leaves, roots, etc and run for cover.

“These plant matters are hard to digest. To remain healthy and digest all the nutrients properly, hares recycle their food a second time by eating their own poop. The cecotropes or night faeces are loaded with nutrients…,” the authors say.
Ever wondered why fireflies glow? Not to remind the ancient mariners of fairy tales, for sure.
“They communicate through flashes and steady glows, mostly to attract a mate. Different species have different flash patterns and wavelengths to communicate.

“In certain species, the females don’t fly, but respond to the flashy males through light signals, some species even have similar flash patterns but fly at different heights to avoid confusion,” the authors say. -PTI

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