Tiger's whiskers are pulse detectors


18 Responses to “Tiger's whiskers are pulse detectors”

  1. twianto says:

    Whiskers, no matter which animal they belong to, are just hairs and as such do not contain any nerves. The follicles however (where hair is attached to the skin) can be quite sensitive and give hair its sensory functions.

    • timquinn says:

      I’ve seen my cat sorting the crunchies by color with his whiskers before eating them. He hates the yellow ones.

    • s2redux says:

      Exactly. Which is why there’s a word for them — vibrissae — though no one seems to use it much these days. We used to have vibrissae, too…but then scumbag evolution made us the only primates without ‘em. (And so, even hirsute humans are follicly challenged, exept maybe Meg Griffin when she dons the Slutty Cat costume.)

  2. Manny says:

    Sonar-jamming moth? There’s got to be a book in that idea.

  3. Dan Hibiki says:

    The moth thing may be more of a warning then a defense. Tiger Moths are poisonous insects and emitting that noise may work the same way as colourful patterns on it’s wings and tells predators not to eat it.

  4. xzzy says:

    Oh yeah well I can detect pulse with my fingers. I’d like to see a tiger accomplish that.

  5. Gabriel Morgan says:

    Large cats don’t really ‘pierce’ the arteries so much as strangle their prey.  If it was a rip or a tear, they wouldn’t need sensors to tell  them when to let go, after all.  This is why one of the base chokes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is named the mata leão (lion choke) in Brazilian Portugese.  Trivia!

    • imag says:

      Much as they terrify me, I think I would much prefer death by tiger than death by bear.  The tiger will make it quick.  Apparently bears will just chow down on your middle while you slowly expire.

      • theophrastvs says:

        i recall vividly seeing a nature video as a child of a lion eating a zebra; one paw holding down the thrashing zebra (which was understandably howling) while the lion methodically chewed on the zebra’s hind-quarters.  really warped the young mind that was at the time being indoctrinated into being a vegetarian “as to be anything else is unnatural and cruel”. sure seemed (at the time) that cruelty was the natural part.

    • GawainLavers says:

      I think that depends on the cat.  I know lions generally go to suffocate, but that requires the prey to be immobilized from exhaustion, bloodloss and other lions: a better tactic to use when working with a team.  I would expect tigers, being solitary, need to kill their prey more quickly to reduce the chance of injury to themselves.

      • Gabriel Morgan says:

        Very much the opposite.  Blood-chokes (animal and people) cause unconsciousness very quickly, allowing the cat to drag the body to a better place to have lunch.  They also inhibit alert sounds.  Much safer for the cat then waiting for the victim to bleed out from wounds.

        There’s a reason that accounts of human tiger attacks in, say, the Sundarbans, often begin with, ‘Bob (or Sanji) was walking behind me, then I turned, and he was no longer there.  I never heard a thing.’

  6. Cowicide says:


  7. GawainLavers says:

    And now I’m a little suspicious of this author.

    On the platypus:

    …which allows it to sense electric impulses in the sea…

    I suppose that might be true in the technical sense, but platypodes are uniformly aquatic, not marine, animals. 

  8. DreamboatSkanky says:

    Does the Tiger Moth superpower stack with the Tiger superpower?

  9. Peter says:

    Was I the only one hoping from the title that they discovered that tiger whiskers somehow make a sensitive antenna that they, for some reason, use to detect electromagnetic pulses?

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