New Data on Killer House Cats

60-Second Science


Domestic cats. That live or go outside. Kill lots of wild animals. Recent studies find that outdoor cats in North America takeout between ten and thirty billion birds and mammals each year still. It hasn't been clear. What kind of impact? The world's six hundred million pet cats have on wildlife populations and whether that impact poses a threat about diversity conservation. Anyone who has had sees her cats bring animals home and the question is well. Does it matter and especially we wanted to know. Where are the cats actually honey? Are they hunting in their backyards or are they going out into the nature preserves North Carolina State University zoologist role in case together with colleagues in the UK? Australia and New Zealand KS distributed small. Gps trackers to citizen scientists cat owners. They attach the trackers to their cats collars in all more than nine hundred pet. Cats were tracked this way. All of which were routinely allowed to roam freely outside. Some cats were true explorers. One British cat called Max walked almost two kilometers back and forth along a road between two neighboring villages twice but the majority were homebodies. Rarely straying more than a hundred meters from home in other words. They use their own backyards. Plus those of a few years as their hunting grounds the findings are in the journal. Animal conservation a single pet. Cat doesn't kill as many animals as a wildcat does to survive but the pets impact happens in a much smaller area so in a given area say one hundred square meters pet cats killed between two and ten times as many other animals as do similarly sized wild predators. We're able to put this into kind of a currency into a value of how many animals how many prey animals does a pet cat kill per hectare Area per year? And that's something that we can also estimate for wild predators so we were able to estimate this for a cat. A wildcat called the jungle cat which is about the same size and they killed a lot more Per Cat because they have to hunt to get everything They eat whereas the pet cats get their food bowl but they hunt over a massive area compared to the pet cats and in some places including California Florida Australia and elsewhere. Cats are an important threat to some species. That are already in trouble on one hand. It's kind of good news that the cats aren't going out further abroad but it's bad news that they're quite likely to have an impact on the animals that they share space with near their houses with so much killing concentrated around people's houses the positive impacts of urban wildlife like the beauty of songbirds or the way small lizards can control insect. Pests could get washed away in precisely the areas where those benefits most appreciated so on conservationists import cat owners to keep their pets indoors scientific evidence agrees

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