The low roar of a lion, or the meow of a wildcat, has more to do with where a cat lives than its size.
Scientists analysed the calls of 27 cat species, investigating how they vary in habitats from open sandy deserts to thickly planted jungles. Cats living in open areas have deeper calls than those in dense habitats, the researchers found. Previous research suggested a cat’s size determined the pitch of its calls, made to find mates or defend territory.
Cat species that live in more open types of habitat, such as lions, servals and cheetahs, have deeper calls. Cats living in dense habitats, such as wildcats, clouded leopards and the little known marbled cat, communicate at a higher pitch, the researchers found.
Members of the cat family Felidae occur naturally on all continents except Australia and Antarctica, and with the exception of lions, they live solitary lives. Due to this isolation, both males and females use long-distance calls to communicate, to attract mates and deter competition.
Story by Ella Davies
Earth News reporter
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