(page 7)

Hunting (continued):

    Harry Wainwright (the son of George "Tiger" Wainwright), states with reference to the speed of the thylacine when running:

    "Tigers were very fast and could not be caught on horseback. They have a four legged run and do not get up on their hind legs when pursued".  (Source: Moeller archives - typed manuscript [interview with Malley and Brown on the 1st October 1972]).

    Michael Sharland, in his regular "Peregrine" column in the Mercury newspaper of the 25th March 1939 (p. 5) notes: "Somewhat ungainly in form, and having an awkward, though swift gait, its general appearance is much like that of a wolf".

    The Mercury newspaper of the 30th September 1901 (p. 2), records the speed of a retreating tiger being chased by a horse and rider:

    "As S. M. Sampson, a shepherd employed by Messrs. Fitzgerald Bros., of St. Pauls, Avoca, was driving some sheep in from one of the runs recently, he was surprised by the sudden appearance of a big native tiger.  The animal quickly made off, but Sampson pursued him in hot haste, spurring his horse to its utmost.  The tiger out-paced him, however, and was soon lost to sight".

    Guiler & Godard (1998) note: "All the old trappers told of two hunting techniques used by the thylacine".

    1) "It is known that wallaby under chase will run in a wide circle, and that a thylacine would cut across the circle to grab the wallaby as it went past".

hunting technique 1 - interception
    2) "The thylacine is a persistent runner, loping after its prey until the animal finally collapses from exhaustion".  This hunting technique can be demonstrated by a simple speed (S) vs time (T) graph.  The prey starts the chase faster than the thylacine, but tires over time.  The thylacine on the other hand, maintains a constant speed, eventually catching up with the exhausted prey making for an easy kill.
hunting technique 2 - persistence
Speed vs Time.

    The thylacine's endurance in the chase is noted by Michael Sharland in his regular "Peregrine" column in the Mercury newspaper of the 25th March 1939 (p. 5).  Sharland states: "Hunting is done by scent and the animal is able to wear down its prey in the chase, which may last for hours".

    Little has been written on the thylacine's method of kill.  H. Pearce, in an interview with Dr. Eric Guiler (Guiler & Godard 1998, p. 25), stated: "They hunt by lying in wait for their prey then jump on it.  Kangaroos are killed by standing on them and biting through the short rib into the body cavity and ripping the rib cage open"

    An interesting comment is noted in the Launceston Examiner of the 20th January 1894 (p. 8), in which it states that "native tigers" preferred sheep that had not been dipped: "Most well dipped sheep are not troubled by the blow fly, and are not killed by the native tiger if that animal can get undipped ones, for most dips have a sulphurous odour which is most noticeable to animals and men".

    A comment by Clive Lord (Curator of the Tasmanian Museum) was published in the World newspaper of the 19th Jan 1920 (p. 3) on the relationship between the Tasmanian devil and thylacine:

    "...Mr. Lord, who added that it is a typical trick of the animal (Tasmanian devil) to follow the Tasmanian tiger about the bush and feed on the remains of that gentleman's kills".

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