A recent research revealed an unsettling truth about Australian cats. Even if they are wild or live in someone’s household, these tiny but adorable predators kill over one million birds per day. Also, this explains the sudden decline of certain species on the continent.
Australian cats are ferocious killers
The study wanted to find the relation between bird populations in Australia and the daily number of specimens attacked and killed by cats. This is how scientists reached an unusually high number, and concluded that cats must be responsible for the sudden decrease in number of certain species.
According to the results, feral cats kill about 316 million birds per day. Domestic cats are still vicious killers, as they make around 61 victims every day. It’s not unusual to hear that felines prefer hunting birds. However, nobody was aware they were such vicious predators.
Researchers quickly made a connection between such high predation rates and the sudden decline in some bird populations. They consulted a number of 100 studies which documented cat populations, and then 100 others which looked at their daily diets. This is how they discovered bird predation patterns differed from one region to another, and it turns out cats kill more birds in arid areas, such as 330 kills per square kilometer.
Felines have caused a serious decline in the bird population of the continent
This is the first study to assess the influence of felines on Australian birds. Previous studies and reports had already linked a sudden decline among mammal species because of cat hunting, but there was nothing on birds. Although researchers made efforts to sterilize feral cats, they still couldn’t reduce the number of kills they made.
There are 338 bird species these felines enjoy hunting, and 71 of them are already endangered. It is important to know the predation habits on the continent, as it’s easier to get the necessary conservation efforts, and prevent as many species as possible from going extinct. The analysis of cat hunting habits has been published in the journal Biological Conversation.
Image Source: Public Domain Pictures