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#1
Old 06-21-2011, 01:44 PM
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Do any 2 animals regularly prey on each other?

Are there any two animals that regularly hunt, kill, and eat each other? Basically, are there two species which each have roughly a 50/50 chance of successfully hunting, or being hunted by, the other?

For example, in the Florida Everglades, alligators and invasive Burmese pythons seem quite adept at killing one another. But that involves a non-native species. Has such a situation arisen naturally?
#2
Old 06-21-2011, 02:03 PM
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Happens all the time, if you consider different life stages. For example, monitor lizards eat crocodile eggs and baby crocs, while being eaten by adult crocs. Likewise raccoons and alligators.

When it comes to adults, a predator is generally not going to try to tackle a prey animal that has a 50% chance of winning! However, I would guess that occasional conflicts take place between adult crocs and anacondas, or adult crocs and jaguars - but it wouldn't be a regular thing.
#3
Old 06-21-2011, 02:42 PM
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Predation is a gamble; a species that routinely makes bad bets (or even bets that aren't heavily in its favor) is going to be at a severe disadvantage when it comes to surviving from generation to generation.

In specific, a predator is betting that its caloric outlay in stalking and killing a specific prey animal is going to be repaid many, many times over when it kills and eats the animal, and that it isn't going to lose a significant amount of calories and/or hunting or mating effectiveness due to injuries or illnesses sustained due to the hunt. It might be interesting to think about the worst bet routinely made in the animal kingdom; a cheetah hunting wildebeest, perhaps, or anything going after a hippo. (Both those are improved by the fact juveniles and the ill are most commonly targeted.)
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:04 PM
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Are we allowed to count humans as one of the species? Because armed humans often (though maybe not routinely) hunt, kill, and eat species which would easily kill and eat unarmed humans.

Quote:
It might be interesting to think about the worst bet routinely made in the animal kingdom; a cheetah hunting wildebeest, perhaps, or anything going after a hippo. (Both those are improved by the fact juveniles and the ill are most commonly targeted.)
More interesting is when lions go after young elephants. The mother elephant has been known to respond by hunting down and killing the lioness and all of her cubs.
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmithCommaJohn View Post
Basically, are there two species which each have roughly a 50/50 chance of successfully hunting, or being hunted by, the other?
Black spies and white spies?
#6
Old 06-21-2011, 03:15 PM
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Would lions and hyenas fall into that group? Seems like whenever a pack of one kind finds a lone member of the other, it's on.
#7
Old 06-21-2011, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by lieu View Post
Would lions and hyenas fall into that group? Seems like whenever a pack of one kind finds a lone member of the other, it's on.
Probably true. However, in this case it may be more a case of interspecific territoriality between competing predators than an intent to take the other as prey.
#8
Old 06-21-2011, 03:47 PM
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I'm surprised that mongooses and snakes haven't been mentioned yet. Mongooses hunt smaller snakes for food, but larger snakes can kill and eat mongooses too. There are videos of both results on YouTube.

Also, here's a study of mutual predation (the technical term for the phenomenon being discussed) between various species of scuds.

Last edited by Cryptic C62; 06-21-2011 at 03:50 PM. Reason: More stuff
#9
Old 06-21-2011, 03:51 PM
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Of course, I'm sure that whichever one wins eats the other anyway, even if that wasn't the original purpose of the confrontation.
#10
Old 06-21-2011, 04:22 PM
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Do any 2 animals regularly prey on each other?

Not for very long. Unless you're talking about species and not just 2 animals.
#11
Old 06-21-2011, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
More interesting is when lions go after young elephants. The mother elephant has been known to respond by hunting down and killing the lioness and all of her cubs.
On the surface, this claim seems somewhat fantastic to me. Might you have a cite for it?
#12
Old 06-21-2011, 07:20 PM
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Back in the day, humans and bears.
#13
Old 06-21-2011, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neuroman View Post
On the surface, this claim seems somewhat fantastic to me. Might you have a cite for it?
I don't have the cite, but I believe it's well established. Cape buffalo and other large cattle will intentionally trample lion cubs, though they don't go very far to hunt them down, mostly just accidental encounters. Elephants have the intelligence and ability to hunt and kill lions, with malice aforethought.

Lions and hyenas are also mortal enemies, hunting and killing each other when they can.
#14
Old 06-21-2011, 11:40 PM
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"some days the bull wins"
#15
Old 06-22-2011, 01:50 AM
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Criadillos?
#16
Old 06-22-2011, 04:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cryptic C62 View Post
I'm surprised that mongooses and snakes haven't been mentioned yet. Mongooses hunt smaller snakes for food, but larger snakes can kill and eat mongooses too.
Yes, but is the snake the mongoose eats the same species as the snake that eats the mongoose?
#17
Old 06-22-2011, 05:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
I don't have the cite, but I believe it's well established. Cape buffalo and other large cattle will intentionally trample lion cubs, though they don't go very far to hunt them down, mostly just accidental encounters. Elephants have the intelligence and ability to hunt and kill lions, with malice aforethought.
I've seen footage of Buffalo chasing lion cubs. However, I'm very dubious about the concept of a vengeful Elephant on the hunt. A proper cite would be interesting.

To answer the OP, the reason you don't often see evenly matched animals predating on each other is that it would be a very poor evolutionary strategy. To survive and breed, a predator needs to kill many animals. If they only have a 50% chance of winning each encounter, their chances of survival are very slim. Predators have evolved to be opportunistic, they will typically pick off the weakest prey available. They usually only go after the strongest animals when they are desperate.

However, you do often see evenly matched animals fighting for either mates or territory. Usually, this is combat between members of the same species. However, most fights are not to the death.
#18
Old 06-22-2011, 06:05 AM
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There are plenty of examples of lions attacking elephants and sometimes getting killed in the process, and sometimes getting an elephant for dinner. They try to make sure its better than a 50/50 chance by isolating a cub or weak member from the pack and hoping that the others just let it go in order to save themselves. Elephants are one of the animals that sometimes don't just let it go and they can stomp or gore the lion to death successfully sometimes. It ain't easy making a living out there even for lions or elephants.

I can't find any evidence, or anecdotal claims other than in this thread, that elephants are known to plot the demise of unknown lion enemies and go out with the intention of hunting them down and killing them. Not saying it's not true but I'd love to see a cite on that too.
#19
Old 06-22-2011, 09:18 AM
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I don't know about vengefulness, but I believe it's generally accepted that some herbivores will intentionally kill the young of their predator species when they can get away with it. This tendency was discussed as a possible behavior of dinosaurs in a program I saw, where it was extrapolated from known behaviors of modern animals.
#20
Old 06-22-2011, 09:52 AM
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Don't predator species make a lousy choice of meat for another predator (as opposed to a scavenger)? For humans at least, I've read that eating the liver of a lion or polar bear is a Very Bad Idea.

Last edited by Koxinga; 06-22-2011 at 09:54 AM.
#21
Old 06-22-2011, 10:08 AM
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There's these two ancient species...
#22
Old 06-22-2011, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koxinga View Post
Don't predator species make a lousy choice of meat for another predator (as opposed to a scavenger)? For humans at least, I've read that eating the liver of a lion or polar bear is a Very Bad Idea.
I don't know about the lion's liver, but a polar bear's liver is toxic to humans because of the massive quantities of vitamin A. However, I was under the impression that this was due to it being an acrtic creature rather than a predator
#23
Old 06-22-2011, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by psychonaut View Post
Yes, but is the snake the mongoose eats the same species as the snake that eats the mongoose?
Snakes are snakes. When a mongoose sees a snake, he doesn't say "Hmm, that coloration pattern is not the same as the previous snake that I ate. I wonder if this is a different species..." He says "Look, a snake!" Followed shortly thereafter by "Mushrooms, mushrooms!"
#24
Old 06-22-2011, 04:27 PM
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Polygoose might not care about coloration patterns, but I'm sure they care about size.
#25
Old 06-22-2011, 04:35 PM
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I've read that mongoose will avoid certain snakes as too dangerous, e.g., the black mamba.
#26
Old 06-22-2011, 04:54 PM
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I think what we're talking about here is a form of biological competition, which according to the link is not a stable situation. Eventually one or both of the organism succumbs to the harmful effects, and stability is restored.
#27
Old 06-22-2011, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alka Seltzer View Post
I've seen footage of Buffalo chasing lion cubs. However, I'm very dubious about the concept of a vengeful Elephant on the hunt. A proper cite would be interesting.
Still looking for a proper cite. I see anecdotes about male elephants killing lions, and elephants used for hunting lions by people.

This is an extraordinary bit of video though; lions taking down an adult elephant.
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Old 06-22-2011, 06:37 PM
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Just for the record, I'm not going to stand by the original claim. I certainly heard it, but you'uns are right not to just take my word on it, as I don't have a cite.
#29
Old 06-22-2011, 06:44 PM
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I've heard and read the anecdote more than once. But anecdotes don't equal fact. I've heard several times, and can probably find cites for, the 'crocodile bird' that enters the open mouth of a croc to eat parasites. Recently I saw an article listing that as non-factual. Searching for 'elephants hunting lions' gives me tons of hits for 'lions hunting elephants'. Not much help.
#30
Old 06-22-2011, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cryptic C62 View Post
Also, here's a study of mutual predation (the technical term for the phenomenon being discussed) between various species of scuds.
I'll be damned. Never knew there was a scud other than a missile.

Lousy sounding name, though. Whoever named 'em must've not liked 'em.

"Scud."

Heh.
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