Large Desert meat eater

In any habitat the large carnivores or top predators are relatively few in number.
This is a consequence of the natural ecological balance between species. In
order to allow prey populations to maintain themselves, and to avoid hunting
them to extermination, the top carnivores need to range over a wide area and
take one meal here, another there some days later, and so on. In a rain forest,
where there is a plethora of densely packed prey, a big cat, such as a jaguar, may
occupy a hunting territory of less than 5 square kilometers (2 sq. mi.). In desert
regions, by contrast, large meals are so sparse that the most dry-adapted of big
cats, the cheetah of Africa and—possibly still—the Middle East, may range over
an area greater than 500 square kilometers (195 sq. mi.). This compares to as
little as 20 square kilometers (8 sq. mi.) for a cheetah living in productive
The food of a carnivore usually contains plenty of fluid—as blood and other
body liquids—compared to the dry seeds of herbivores, so obtaining sufficient
water tends to be less of a problem. Many mammal predators, such as cheetahs
and other cats as well as members of the dog group such as hyenas and foxes,
mark their territories with scent and urine and usually chase away any intruders

encounter. In the grip of drought, however, the energy required to defend a patch
often exceeds the nourishment and moisture available and territorial boundaries
break down. Some normally lone-hunting species, such as brown hyenas
(Hyaena brunnea), may even band together on communal forays during this
temporary truce.
The survival of big cats in arid, treeless places is somewhat surprising because
the cat group originated primarily as tree-climbing forest hunters. However, the
cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) hardly ever climbs, unless it is on to a termite
mound to scan the surroundings. It is the only cat with non-retractable claws,
and these are larger and blunter for good grip on the earth. The claws are just

one of the cheetah’s adaptations for its bursts of soeed over open ground. Others
include its lean, rangy build, with long, slim legs and a flexible backbone that
flips up and down to increase stride length.
Cheetahs drink on average once every three to five days and can survive for
more than 10 days without water. They are supreme sprinters, being the fastest
creatures on legs with a top speed of perhaps as much as 100 kilometers per
hour (62 mph). This lightning dash is brought into play after the cheetah has
stalked and crept as close as possible to its prey, usually a small antelope or
gazelle, such as a wildebeest calf or Thomson’s gazelle, or perhaps an African
hare. When within 50 meters (55 yd.) of its prey, the cat accelerates to top speed
in less than two seconds. However, it can maintain maximum velocity only for
about 500 meters (550 yd.) or 20 seconds, after which it tires rapidly. The
average chase occurs across 160 to 180 meters (175–200 yd.), and the cheetah
has a 40- to 55-percent chance of a successful catch.
cheetah is virtually Cheetahs were once widespread across Africa extinct
outside Africa, with and the Middle East to India. Now they are almost only a
few scattered extinct in Asia, apart from possible hangers-on in populations in
Iran and remote desert areas such as the Kara-Kum and Russia. Estimates are
that Iranian Desert, where they are largely free from there are fewer than 9,000
human persecution. Even in their African cheetahs left on earth. stronghold
cheetahs are declining in the north and west, driven to desert edges where they
sometimes run into trouble when hunting livestock.
Several other cats have become adapted to life in dry lands. The sand cat
(Felis margarita; see illus., p. 92) of the Sahara and Middle East is hardly larger
than its domestic relative. Its yellow-brown or gray-brown coat blends perfectly
with the desert soil as it preys on rodents, lizards, and large insects. The caracal
(Felis caracal) has a similar distribution but is much larger, about 1 meter (3 ft.)
long from nose to tail. Its tufted ears have given it the alternative names of
African or desert lynx. With its slim, long-legged build, the caracal runs down
hares, rabbits, large rodents, and small-hoofed mammals such as baby deer,
antelopes, and gazelles. It also leaps vertically, springing straight up from a
standing position to “bat” down low-flying birds with its paws.
In North America the bobcat (Felis rufus) and puma, or cougar or mountain
lion (Felis concolor), are adaptable cats that are sometimes driven into
semidesert regions by human persecution. Both hunt smaller prey such as
jackrabbits and young mule deer; the puma also takes adult deer and,
occasionally, farm livestock. In South America the margay, or tigrillo (“little
tiger”; Felis wiedi) also frequents dry scrub around the fringes of true desert in
its search for rats, squirrels, and similar rodents as well as various kinds of birds. in the desert habitat is never far from the hiding place