Crowned eagles attack cats and dogs in South Africa

Some of the nests of the crowned eagle in Durban, South Africa, date back to the 1960s. People have moved into their territories in new settlements, which is one reason why this large bird of prey, a powerful hunter, is taking cats and dogs in the area.

Crowned eagle
Crowned eagle. Photo: Simon Thomsett
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Reportedly, several cats have gone missing and the blame is being placed upon Africa’s most powerful bird species. They can kill and carry anything weighing up to 20 kg. It is said that they have found cats and dogs much easier prey than monkeys and other small mammals which they usually hunt.

The crowned eagle’s claws are razor sharp and they can kill outright and certainly maim anything upon which it swoops. A terrier recently had to be euthanised after a crowned eagle dropped the companiion animal from a great height. Jane Chapman recently had a very unpleasant experience when one of the birds swooped down to her garden and grabbed her fox terrier in its claws.

Her fox terrier, Roxy, was airborne when Ms Chapman ran out after the bird screaming, shouting and flailing her arms. It worked as the bird dropped Roxy who has been treated for wounds.

Ms Chapman said that the eagle has since been sitting in the trees and watching her garden waiting for another opportunity. She has two dachshunds as well as to larger dogs to worry about. She takes them out one at a time when they go to the toilet and supervises them as she looks up at the trees constantly worrying.

As mentioned earlier in this post, the traditional hunting areas of this bird of prey have been taken away for homes and shopping malls resulting in conflict with humans and their pets. Ben Hoffman of Raptor Rescue said that it is usually the sub-adult eagles who attack pets because they are inexperienced and are more opportunistic. They find a good source of food and then decide to hang around to try again. Companion animal owners simply have to be more vigilant and protect their animals until the eagle decides to move on.

It is a story which upends the traditional throught that domestic cats kill birds in back gradens. There are birds of prey such as owls which prey on domestic cats in the USA. I can remember a story of a kitten taken from a balcony. The cat simply disappeared. Owls glide silently. The experts are trying to figure out how.


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