Patagonian Pumas and Penguins

We were talking about big cats in the shop during the week, specifically the definition of “big cat”. The current TV programme is called Big Cats but includes a lot of small cats. Specifically, it includes the Rusty Spotted Cat, which is a very cute cat (which is something you can’t say about a lion or tiger) and rather on the small side.  In fact, at 14 to 19 inches long (excluding tail) it is Asia’s smallest cat and a contender for being the world’s smallest cat.  (The rival is Africa’s Black-footed cat).

The dictionary tells me that the Big Cats are Tigers, Lions, Jaguars and Leopards.  These are all able to roar (apart from Snow Leopards). Sometimes Pumas/Cougars and Cheetahs are allowed in. Unless, as we have seen, you are producing a documentary titled “Big Cats”, when you allow everything in.

It’s a relief to find it’s just sloppy journalism, because I was beginning to think I  was going mad.

By coincidence the Sunday repeat came on as I started to write this. They have just shown pumas in Patagonia that prey on penguins. I don’t like their choice of prey, but you have to admire their instinct for alliteration.

There is probably a joke in there somewhere, but it may fall flat in countries where a Penguin isn’t an easily available chocolate biscuit.

Now they are trekking in the Himalayas, tracking a Snow Leopard. Despite the snow and altitude it seems to lead a life that, just like a domestic cat, involves a lot of sleeping. However, as we’ve already established, I’m not one to take the moral high ground in matters related to sleeping.

I had been wondering what you needed to do at school to end up as a wildlife photographer. However, having seen what they had to do in the Himalayas I’m finding that my enthusiasm is fading. I really don’t like all that snow.

Given a choice I would like to specialise in wildlife that lives around the Mediterranean within easy reach of  shops.

Though after reading  this article I may well settle for life as a travel journalist, as you only have to go for a few weeks.


13 thoughts on “Patagonian Pumas and Penguins

  1. Clem

    On the matter of Patagonian puma penguin preying… yes, their instinct for alliteration is pretty powerful. Positively pleasing even. And even now it occurs to me one might wonder whether the verb for the stealing of a penguin from a fellow puma could be considered: poach, pilfer, pinch, or purloin. My money is on purloin – these are cats after all.

      1. Clem

        Perhaps an apology is owed up front, but I’d also wondered if pumas were the slightest bit religious and if so whether they would be Protestants… say Pentecostals or maybe Presbyterians? Naturally if one could presume pumas had a predilection for pontificating then is it too much a stretch to think after a positive penguin preying they might be praying too?

  2. Clare Pooley

    I’m not very adventurous and like my home comforts too much. A traveller’s life is not for me, especially as I am fortunate enough to be able to see wildlife from my kitchen window. And I’m not that interested in big cats anyway.

  3. tootlepedal

    Rather you than me. We had a talk from a celebrated wild life snapper about taking pictures in your own garden. This was exciting but when he revealed that he had spent all night lying in a tent in the rain just to get a morning picture of his pond, I lost a little interest.


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