Lifescapes Gallery

31 / Oct / 2012
The Hummingbird with Nine Lives!
Rusty-spotted cat, Kabini Photograph: Santosh Saligram Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

The Hummingbird with Nine Lives!

He’s small. He’s hyperactive. He’s highly agile. And he spends most of his day high up on a tree. It is these qualities that have given the Rusty Spotted Cat of Kabini the label of ‘Hummingbird of the Cat Family’. The smallest known wild cat in the world, this beautiful little bundle of energy is also the most playful, and can spend all his time frolicking without a care in the world. Half the size of the common domestic cat and twice as naughty, this wild spirit is often kept as a pet and proves an affectionate, expressive and playful companion. The upside of all this inexhaustible energy is that the pet owner can save money on his Gym fee. Our pal ‘Rusty’ is not just a gymnast, athlete and goofball rolled into one, but is also one handsome hunk. In fact he gets his name from the lines of small rusty-brown spots that coalesce to form solid stripes on the back of his head, flanks and back. In the wild, he’s an opportunistic predator who hunts small animals, rodents, frogs and reptiles, and like his human BPO cousins, sleeps by day and works at night. He hunts on the ground by making rapid, commando style attacks, and retreats to his arboreal perches to avoid predation. Surprisingly, he features, not only on the dinner list of larger animals, but is also considered a delicacy by some men who live on his range. While they don’t lick their chops on seeing him, there are those who’d only rejoice at his demise: when ‘Rusty’ hunts, he often doesn’t discriminate between wild fowl and domestic livestock, and his speed and agility while escaping with his prey ensures that the last thing farmers feel like doing in his presence is humming!

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 at 7:38 am and is filed under Kabini, Mammals . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. Dr Sameer R. Rao says:

    Most beautiful and adorable image of this rarely seen cat.Rajesh, as usual you have written an entertaining and informative story to accompany the image. By the way Santhosh too is a great story teller with a great command over the English language !

  2. Maria Mantler says:

    Dear Orange County team!

    I really enjoy reading your newsletter and looking at the amazing pictures.

    Please keep on doing it that way 🙂

    I hope one day I’ll have the time opportunity to visit you in India.

  3. Anu Elisha says:

    Very informative… Plus, Im really happy to see something on cats 😉

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