Fun Friday: Welcome to Big Cat Facts!

posted on May 12, 2017
Some folks say that the Internet was built on cats. Although we're inclined to take that assertion with a grain of tuna-flavored kibble, we have to admit that one of the funniest phone pranks we've ever seen certainly was. As you can see from the above image, the prank starts with the prankster texting his or her unwitting pal from a dummy phone number, pretending that the mark has been signed up to the world's most obnoxious text-based app: Cat Facts. Now, we'll have to open with the caveat that you probably shouldn't try this on someone who wouldn't find it amusing (at least, eventually), but we do think that the predator hunters in our audience might enjoy an updated version of the "Welcome to Cat Facts" prank. The twist? Instead of facts about housecats, we'll load up our arsenal of annoying data to text to our friends with Big Cat Facts!

1. Snow leopards are able to jump as far as 50 feet. Frisky!
It's actually not unusual for big cats to display remarkable feats of athleticism. Anyone who's ever watched a housecat ricochet off the walls like a fuzzy squash ball (an event that usually happens at around 2 a.m.) can attest to that. What sets the endangered snow leopard apart isn't so much its athleticism, but its complete lack of feline dignity when it's in a playful mood. Click here for an example

At this point, your friend will probably have already texted you to stop.

2. The big cat that is most likely to prey on humans is the Bengal tiger. Me-owch! 
There's a very good reason why tigers haunt the legends and literature that have emerged from Asia...unlike many other large predators, which usually eschew humans as prey, Bengal tigers seem to deserve their reputations as man-eaters. The most prolific and famous is known as the "Champawat Tiger," a female who racked up an incredible 436 human deaths around the Indian city of Champawat in just eight years. Once the famous hunter Jim Corbett eventually put an end to her reign of terror in 1911 (you can watch some remarkable footage here), it was determined that the animal had several broken canine teeth that would have made it difficult for her to hunt the tiger's traditional prey of large ungulates and wild boars. 

By now, your friend should be desperately entering in the 15-character-long nonsense code that you've given him or her to discontinue these annoying facts.

3. Not all big cats roar, but they're purr-fect anyway.
The roaring cats are lions (whose roars can be heard up to 5 miles away), tigers, leopards and jaguars. Interestingly, due to the structure of their larynxes, cats that can roar cannot purr, and vice versa. And yes, that means that big cats like mountain lions and cheetahs can purr. Click here for adorable proof.

If you're near your friend, now is a good time to visit them in person. Have you ever seen their face turn that color before?  

4. Lions plus tigers are ligers, Oh My! 
Although a certain gawky and awkward teenager from Preston, Idaho may be under the impression that ligers are mythical creatures bred for their skills in magic, they're actually real critters...although ones that would almost certainly never be found in nature. The liger is the offspring of a male lion and a female tiger, a mating that generally only happens in captivity because, in nature, these animals' territories do not overlap. Ligers are remarkable for a couple of other reasons, though. First of all, they're significantly larger than either parent species: Males can be up to 12 feet long and weigh up to 900 pounds. (Have a look at this video featuring Hercules the liger to see just how big they can get!) Secondly, unlike many other human-created hybrids (such as the mule), female ligers are not sterile: They and can and do produce viable offspring that are themselves fertile. 

Now might be a fun time to channel the aforementioned awkward teenager from Idaho by asking your friend whether ligers are pretty much their favorite animal or not...although the answer to the question won't matter. You're still sending them Big Cat Facts!

5. To attract sharks, use the smell of blood. To attract big cats, use the smell of Calvin Klein's "Obsession." Yum!
No, really, we swear we're not making this up. (Source is here.) Apparently, zookeepers and wildlife biologists have discovered that the best way to bring all the big cats to the yard is to spray objects with Calvin Klein's "Obsession For Men." Although nobody really knows for sure why this works, it's very possible that the felines are reacting to a common component of high-end perfume, civetone. Civetone is a pheromone derived from the...uh, secretions...of the civet cat. Civetone has a very offputting aroma that becomes pleasantly musky once it's diluted. Although civets aren't really members of the Felidae family, that aroma may be close enough to the ones that real felines emit to attract them.

Are you ready to take pity on your mark and reveal yourself as the author of the Big Cat Facts? If not, you're on your own, because we're fresh out of them for now. Happy Friday!


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