About the Author

Kyle Gordon

Contributor

Kyle was born and raised in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe. His childhood was spent scurrying barefooted along the banks of various rivers and dams, fishing rod ever-in-hand, enjoying the beauty and freedom of outdoors. Kyle obtained a degree in construction from UCT ...

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28 Comments

on The Birds and the Bees (and the Cats)

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Babs Putar
Explorer

This is a very interesting and informative article. Shows us one once again how clever and smart the feline females are by leading the males up the ‘garden path’ to protect her offspring and her DNA.

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Exactly Babs! The feline female is incredibly intelligent in her approach to mating and the protection of the resulting cubs.

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

One of my favorite random animal facts is that scientists have found that zebras’ stripes tend to repel biting flies. From a distance the flies will approach the zebras but once they’re near, they fly away, unlike other animals like lions that often are seen with faces covered by these pesky insects.

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Hi Denise, I have also read this and it is something to do with the stripes that is so effective in “confusing” insects as they try and land.

Gawie Jordaan
Digital Tracker

A Fascinating Blog once again! I did not know that felines have the ability to withhold ovulation. Nature has a special way of doing indeed. I have a lot of animal facts, but I recon the massive PSI (Biting Force) a spotted Hyena has is a fact that cannot be argued with.

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Hi Gawie, thanks for reading. The felines do not exactly choose to withhold ovulation but rather it is just the natural course of their mating mechanism. Hyenas are incredible and have the third strongest bite force of any land mammal – just behind polar and grizzly bears who are about 7 times their weight!

Gawie Jordaan
Digital Tracker

Thank you for clearing it up for me! I find the natural course very close to “instinct” perhaps?

Vin Beni
Guest contributor

The act itself for leopards seems incredibly violent when one witnesses it.

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Hi Vin, it is indeed quite violent. Definitely not a romantic affair in any of the feline species!

Francesca Doria
Master Tracker

Hi Kyle, when studying I “met” several examples of random animal facts. It’s difficult to pick up one as nature is endless, but I think that fish give very interesting examples as far as reproduction is involved. For example, fish that change sex when adult like wrasse. It involves complete remodeling of the gonad, from an ovary producing egg to a testis producing sperm. The gonads have both female and male tissues and when the dominant fish outgrows the others sex change occurs. This differs from other fish, that change sex routinely when they reach a certain size. The blog is very accurately written with wonderful photos. The same happens more or less with smaller cats.

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Hi Francesa, this is absolutely fascinating! I know I have heard of it but I could not bring up any details so thanks for the explanation, really really interesting.

Suzanne Gibson
Guest contributor

Hi Kyle, it was good to see you again last week. Thanks for a very interesting blog, but I have a question….I’ve heard it is possible for the cubs in a litter of leopards to have different fathers. Is that correct, and if so, does it apply to other cats?

Chelsea Allard
Master Tracker

Mother Nature is so intelligent. I don’t think we could make up half these types of scenarios even if we tried.

Chris Taylor
Ranger

Absolutely right, Chelsea. Mother Nature is a wizard!

Christa Blessing
Master Tracker

Thanks for this very interesting blog on mating of the big cats. It’s really amazing how nature “works”. And watching such a mating ritual is certainly the highlight of any safari.

Kara Taylor
Master Tracker

That’s super fascinating! I learned something yet again – I love that . I find it interesting how giraffe drink and the whole mechanism that allows them to do that and not pass out ….nature is amazing!

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

The rete mirable (miracle net) is the mechanism you are referring to, Kara! A “net” of capillaries to catch and dissipate the force of the blood rushing toward the brain as the giraffe dips it’s head. Giraffe are a wonder of adaptions.

William Paynter
Master Tracker

Good blog Kyle, with interesting behaviors of both the lions and the leopards. The seasonality of the impala, wildebeest and the herbivores is certainly how nature tries to protect all species. You are right about DNA and genes ruling many behaviors.

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Any question in nature can be answered by thinking along the lines of, “what would be best for the animals’ genes in this scenario?”

Or at least most questions…

Bob and Lucie Fjeldstad
Guest contributor

So it must be true that a female leopard will intentionally seek out multiple males in order to protect her future litter. But has science determined exactly how the males figure out if (1) they are the actual father to the litter, or (2) the cubs belong to another male and therefore must be killed?

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

I do not think they are necessarilly able to somehow sense that the offspring are theirs directly, but I do think there may be some smell that they affiliate with the mother who they know they mated with. And if they didn’t mate with her then that cub must go! Definitely a harsh world out there. Hope you and Luc are good!

Kay Schmid
Digital Ranger

Kyle, I have always found it difficult to understand how a male feline could remember with which female he has copulated. Really?

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

HI Kay, I think they could. It’s not exactly a frequent affair (usually at least) and I think it can fall along the same vein as contact and territorial calls – to us to all seems the same but to these animals each individual has a voice. They are much more aware of their movements and environment than we often give them credit for.

Valmai Vorster
Master Tracker

The females are very clever by mating with 2 males making sure the cubs will not be killed by the males. I did not know that the female could withhold the ovulation process. Nature is amazing and we can learn something everyday. Just watching the leopards mating and seeing the aggression in the dismount, you can see it is painful for both partners.

Cally Staniland
Master Tracker

A great blog written in ‘layman s’ language for us all to grasp Kyle…. with some wonderful photos !

Lisa Antell
Master Tracker

Have witnessed mating lions…..and mating jaguars…..now just waiting to see mating leopards someday!

Michael and Terri Klauber
Guest contributor

Kyle, great explanation! We had always heard the Zebra stripes were helpful in confusing their predators?

Paul Canales
Master Tracker

Very interesting post Kyle. The genius of nature is really evident in the cool clever tricks of large cat mating, especially the trick of selecting the stronger genes and “hiding” the progenitor!!

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