Re: Shadow Cats of Bodmin Moor

From: Alex Ferguson (abf@cs.ucc.ie)
Date: Mon 13 Mar 2000 - 16:36:28 EET


Trotsky on li'l kitties:
> Not only do they exist and have stats in Anaxial, but they have an actual
> myth in that book, too.

Cool. Does AR have GB-style (or o/w) distributions, btw?

> IMO, however, the Heortlings do not themselves have housecats, as they
> have moggy-sized alynxes to hunt mice for them instead.

True, but as I say, I prefer to relegate the 'tamer' roles to housecats.
And as per my implausiable 'speciation', it also makes the Kiro Fini
alynx breeders lives more interestingly complex...

Dom Twist on bigger kitties, this time in the sunny south-west:
> We're probably talking Puma rather than Black Leopards.....

I grant you that the probability seems likely to be no less, at
any rate. ;-) Puma are if anything larger on average than
leopard, IIUC, so they're not especially easier to grant as a
plausibility. Also the sighting 'evidence' traditionally reports
them as being dark-coloured, doesn't it?

> The lifespan of these Cats isnt huge, and the number of sightings is
> on the increase. In time their GenePool will probably do them in but
> currently population numbers would seem to be on the way up....

Or people are just getting more 'imaginative' these days...

> Third. The RANGE of these Cats is huge. A hunting range of a few hundred
> miles isnt out of the question. Which means that yon beastie on Ex-moor,
> Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor is allmost certainly one and the same.

An actual range wouldn't be that large, but migration does occur.

> mention sightings in Mid Cornwall and the far West. All these areas are
> moorland or woodland dense and are linked by wide belts of sparse Human
> Habitation.

Frankly, there's not much land left in England that could be considered
'sparsely' populated in terms of being likely hunting ground for large
predators. Population pressure has a significant effect on puma
population on considerably less populated areas in the Americas, and
I can't see Cornwall as being a more congenial place in such respects.

> Fourth. Food. Rabbits, Mice, Voles, Pheasants, etc. If the Canadian Timber
> Wolf lives large chunks of its season on Lemmings then a Cat could certainly
> live on what it could hunt localy.

It's possible, perhaps, but not a very compelling argument. A puma is
rather larger than a wolf, and hunts proportionately larger prey in the
wild. I can't tell you it's not possible that a wolf (or a puma) might
live a full lifespan without ever killing larger prey, but it sounds
unlikely, and it's certainly not either animal's niche. If there were
regular bouts of large-predator style deer kills being reported, though...
(veterinary forensics -- now, if that becomes a hit BBC series, then you
heard it here first...).

> As to the 'Beast of Bodmin' being a shadow cat.....well the best footage
> I've seen...shot by a Local Council Planning commite out videoing a building
> site.....certainly fits the description.

Not much like a puma, then. Leading me neatly on to:

ObGlorantha: Come to that, Sartar is a pretty densely populated place...
But the commoner shadowcats are a lot smaller than a puma, and there's
a lot more in the way of actually or effectively wild game. And of
course, Sartarite hunters don't persecute them (unless one considers
worship a form of harassment -- somehow, I imagine they're prepared
to graciously tolerate that...).

Cheers,
Alex.

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