Friday Catblogging: Where It’s Dog Cat-Eat-Dog

That place would be India:

Leopards that roam rural India have a surprising favorite food: dogs.

The big cats even seem to prefer eating domestic dogs in areas where cows, goats and other farm animals are plentiful, according to a new study.

To reconstruct leopard diets, scientists had to take a close look at leopard poop. A team led by researchers with the Wildlife Conservation Society scooped up 85 leopard fecal samples as they scoured footpaths, dried-up streams and fields in a rural section of western Maharashtra (the same state where Mumbai is located). Back in a lab, the researchers looked for signs of claws, hoofs and hair and other indigestible parts of unlucky prey in the scat. [See Photos of Leopards in Western Maharashtra]

The researchers found that domestic dogs were by far the most common prey, making up 39 percent of the leopards’ diet (in terms of biomass). The remains of domestic cats were found in 15 percent of poop samples and accounted for 12 percent of the mass of leopards’ meals.

By comparison, livestock were a relatively small portion of the leopard diet. Domestic goats, for example, accounted for just 11 percent of the mass of the big cats’ meals, even though they were seven times more abundant than dogs in the study area….

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