Why leopards eat in trees

A leopard carries its prey into a tree
August 07, 2017 | 04:21 pm / bbc.com
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After bringing down a springbok or other prey, leopards tend to drag their kill up into a tree. A new study may explain why

Many animals, including Africa's Big Five, roam the savannas of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa. Sometimes, these animals turn up in unexpected places – such as the young giraffe that game guides found up in a tree, hung over a fork, dead.

A large male leopard straddled the giraffe, its mouth blood-red. Apparently, the leopard had hoisted the giraffe several metres up the tree. The cat feasted for a few days, leaving only bones, skin and bits of flesh scattered around.

The giraffe weighed 300kg, about five times heavier than its killer. To match the leopard's feat of food-lifting, a man would have to heave almost 2000 Big Macs up two floors in one go.

It seems an utterly bizarre thing to do, but the leopard has a good reason for doing all this heavy lifting. If a leopard does not bother to hoist its kill into the tree, it risks losing its meal to hyenas and lions.

◼ Editorial / inStory.net
Topics: leopard

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