The raven landed on top of the streetlight in the morning light, making low noises deep in its throat, somewhere between a krawk and a purr, sleepy noises, irritated noises.
It was cold outside, just above freezing, and the raven seemed to take the cold personally. I moved closer, within the range where most ravens fly away. The raven didn’t move. It’s neck feathers were fluffed out in ruffled complaint, its talons firmly on its perch. It continued its clucking, clicking protest. What was a human, or that truck that had just rattled by, compared to this irritating weather?
I thought it a lovely morning, chill air scented faintly with frost, a layer of fog over the snowy mountains. Maybe the next raven over thought it was lovely, too. But ravens are individuals, and this raven–even when it eventually flew off, in response to no cue I could see–clearly did not approve.
Hi! I was visiting your mountain lion page at http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/t-puma.html, and saw that its genus and species were listed as Felis concolor. My understanding was that the mountain lion had been reclassified as Puma concolor a couple decades back. Is there still debate about the correct species name, or is this merely old information that has not yet been updated?
Thanks so much for your reply!
And, in my inbox today (after an earlier email saying the question had been forwarded to the relevant staff), a reply:
Thank you for your e-mail.
Yes, we can confirm that the scientific name for mountain lions was changed to Puma concolor. The appropriate departments have been notified.
We appreciate your feedback given.
Customer Service Team
San Diego Zoo
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
So this morning’s Panthera onca research is focused on the question of whether jaguars purr, to which the answer seems to be: yes, though in a quieter growlier way than the typical domestic housecat, and only when breathing out, not in.
But the old notion that cats can either roar or purr but not both is no longer being considered true.
Meanwhile: The world also contains dozens of species of small wild felines who live in isolated and not-so-isolated populations around the world and aren’t nearly as splashy as jaguars and mountain lions. Today’s discovery (for me at least) is the Andean Mountain Cat, which lives at high altitude, rarely seen and little studied.
Wikipedia claims there are no Andean cats in captivity, a notion that makes me happy (for all that I’ve been studying cats in captivity these past weeks), but I’ve yet to find a source for that, so it may be as inaccurate as it is compelling. At any rate, there may in the future be captive breeding programs as part of conservation measures.
And lnhammer brings to my attention the Iriomote cat, a subspecies of leopard cat that lives on a single Japanese island.