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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Book Review: Wild Cats of the World

Scrawled at the top of Sunquist and Sunquist's Wild Cats of the World are the words "The Ultimate Reference to Every Species Worldwide."  I normally try to discourage braggarts, but in this case, it is no ideal boast.  The Sunquists do a remarkable job of gathering, summarizing, and presenting data on the world's cat species (not all of the currently recognized species - some species have been split into two).

For all of the big cat species - and a handful of the smaller ones - there are more detailed books already written.  Schaller, for one, has entirely scholarly works devoted to lions and tigers.  If your interest is solely in pumas or cheetahs, you would probably be better served with one of those species-specific texts with fifty pages devoted to territory marking alone.  What makes the Sunquist book so useful is the attention and detail that it pays to the less well known species.  Sure, there isn't much information available on some species, such as the Chinese desert cat and the Borneo bay cat, but what scant information is available can be found here.  I found this book to be an especially useful reference for those species which are maintained in zoos but which are not subject of other books - clouded leopard, Pallas cat, etc.

Wild Cats of the World provides the information that a specialist would need - charts of body measurements and diet composition (by fecal and stomach content) for example.  It also contains plenty of information that the general reader would find useful and interesting.  For the cat keeper, the generalist keeper, or just someone interest in felids, this book will prove a useful library addition.

Wild Cats of the World at

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