The primary prey by a clear margin of leopards living in India is dogs (39% of prey items) but domestic and stray cats make up 12% of it’s diet by quantity of living matter (biomass).
I know of no other instances of cats feeding on cats unless we refer to the unique conditions of a cat hoarder in America were surviving cats turned to cannibalism.
The leopard in India is a predator feeding on a predator. Is this an aberration brought about because the human has so distorted the habitat of the leopard such that it lives amongst people, frequently wandering into cities and villages?
The consistent presence of the human within the range of the leopard (they live in the same place) combined with perhaps a decline in the leopard’s normal prey because humans kill the leopard’s prey has lead to this distortion of nature.
An astonishing 87% of the leopard’s diet in India is made up of domestic animals (pets and livestock combined). Leopards are dependent on food sources related to people. It is almost a bizarre form of semi-domestication of the leopard.
It has been suggested that domestic cats and dogs are more likely to be prey to the leopard because they are domesticated and therefore less likely to have anti-predator behaviour. Also pets are less likely to be protected than farm livestock making them more vulnerable to predation.
The research was carried out by the Wildlife Conservation Society. They assessed the scats (fecal matter) from areas in western Maharashtra. Mumbai is in this area.
Leopards have discovered a taste for pets which is over and above their taste for livestock, a surprising development.
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