Spotted Saturday @ Sakaerat Najas Project
The Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) is a small felid species with a range spanning India to the Far East of Russia and Indochina. It is a solitary animal, living mostly in tropical evergreen forests. One of our field researchers was lucky enough to spot one crossing the road here at Sakaerat SERS recently.
Leopard Cats hunt at night, and feed mainly on prey such as small mammals, lizards and birds as well as large insects. Here in Sakaerat Biosphere Reserve they share their environment with the Asian Golden Cat (Catopuma temminckii) which is larger and able to predate even on deer species, therefore direct competition is rare.
(Not) Fun fact: The Leopard Cat has been mated with domestic cats since the ‘60s to produce hybrid offspring known as the Bengal cat. Since these hybrids are often sterile, the demand for pure Leopard Cats is high and the species continues to be hunted throughout most of its range for fur, food, and as pets.
This image shows a Leopard Cat in front of the shelter of a radiotracked Monocled Cobra (Naja kaouthia).
Our work focuses on the spatial ecology of the Monocled and Indochinese Spitting Cobra. Our field assistants track the snakes and gather data on the micro-habitats that are utilized. As such, on rare occasions, we will have a visual and witness the snakes (and their behaviour) in their natural environment. We aim to disturb the snakes as little as possible and great care is taken during data gathering to achieve this.
Just yesterday, our tracker Lichy Pulman was locating our longest tracked Monocled Cobra: NAKA012. Through use of radiotelemetry, the snake appeared to be stationery within the Dry Dipterocarp Forest. Once carefully and slowly located, the snake was found basking on an outcrop of stone within the forest. Once spotted, our tracker monitored from 10 meters until the snake started to move in his direction. Movement was therefore necessary resulting in the snake sensing human presence. Although not visibly panicked, NAKA012 turned slowly and repositioned 20m away.
The video was captured on a mobile phone, therefore the quality is not great, but the content is superb.
Yesterday I was catching up on some camera traps data. I found folder with pictures from mid December. This is really interesting timelapse of snake basking in front of his shelter. Enjoy.
Wile ago I had a very nice visual of big boy moving around stream bed, possible foraging. I predicted direction in which snake will move and hide behind big rock with camera ready to go. This is the effect.
First I noticed his head sticking out from behind the big rock.
Naja kaouthia Naka012
He stayed in this position long enough to take 3 photos and than began to move.
Interesting time laps showing snake and its closest surrounding for 29h. You can see jawing/jew setup, millipedes passing by and finally snake leaving the hole.
Monocled Cobra Naja kaouthia. Naka012 is a male, 1.7 m long and 970 g. This snake is tracked from 03.05.2015.