Myths About Dangerous Animals and Interspecie Conflicts
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Myths About Dangerous Animals and Interspecie Conflicts

Further study on the interactive behavior between predator and prey or between competing predators have shown that previous information is incomplete or erroneous. Relationships between large predators are complicated involving territorial recognition and lately crowding has probably increased the incidents regarding potential conflicts.Animals that were once considered lesser hunters have been found to outwit their larger competing animals.

There is a great fallacy in the way we think of which animals are dangerous and ones that are not. Then again there is a great fallacy in the way we have been observing animals in order to come to those conclusions. One website mentioned the most dangerous animals based on their ferocity but I think that having a formidable presence is not all that makes up a killing machine.

Case in point about the website picturing the great white shark as being the best killing machine probably because it has no predators and possesses an imposing set of razor sharp teeth. As it stands there are divers who claim that sharks will not attack unless provoked or hungry and they have been shown swimming nearby without any incidents occurring.

No chance for a box jelly fish to compete with its voracious neighbour; you would think, but if one bases danger on how many victims are killed over a period of time, the answer is not the shark. Recent evidence has shown that the softer looking jellyfish causes many more deaths a year than this fish does and the type of death is even as horrific. The boxes jellyfish found off reefs near Australia packs more venom per specialized stinger cells than other aquatic forms of life do and enough to paralyse prey or send a human into shock so that he never reaches shore; he drowns because of the neurotoxin. One would have thought of the Portuguese Man of War but that form is docile compared to it box shaped cousin.

Years ago the hyena was thought to be a carrion eater, never attacking prey. It is only recently in the past 35 years that we have come to conclude it is better to observe these nocturnal animals are active. A lone leopard would probably fear these animals because they hunt in groups and know very well how to circle their prey just as wild dogs would do. There sharp teeth have earned them the reputation as being just as deadly especially when they act in concert with one attacking at the front and others attacking at the hind haunches that would cripple the feline.

Prior knowledge of the king of the jungle has given us a preconception that the lion commands all and that any other lone predator crossing its path is domed. Not so for a lone leopard who crossed in full view of a lion pride one day out to hunt an antelope and there were no incidents. Its tail was curled up in defiance, the lionesses may have been nervous but the leopard had its mind on food and not on quarrels.

Inter-specie conflicts are very different from how we normally view them. Conflicts between a buffalo and a lioness, which has taken a calf, would show how the buffalo was able to get redemption. We would have thought that the lioness would have been more successful protecting its catch but with an enraged mother on its tale that is not always the case. They are strong and able to turn the conflict in their favour by either trampling the other beast or skewering it on it formidable horns. Normally the lioness isn't after the adult water buffalo anyway because of the larger beasts stamina and weight. A weaker relative has always figured as a better of a catch for the feline.

A crocodile could defend itself just by intimidating its surrounding lion pride by holding its mouth agape, hissing and snapping its tale. Normally neither would seek confrontation if in the wild; lions don't like water and are probably aware that they would have less ability at defending themselves aquatically than crocodiles. Nile crocodiles have been known to quite successful in their battles against cats, zebras, and buffalo crossing their domain. Bull elephants might endure better than a crocodile because of their massive size and ability to crush crocodiles even in the water. One You Tube film showed an elephant shake off a crocodile attack on its trunk by pulling it out of the reptiles jaws. The reptile could also have been stomped on in the struggle.

Elephants have been known to shoo off a lion pride, especially when they have their herds to protect. If water holes are scarce it may leave the species no choice but to tolerate one another in a desperate attempt at drinking. A night battle between the two has shown that if alone the elephant may end up as a victim rather than victor. Normally the pachyderms travel in groups and would defend themselves very well against a lion pride but if there is a straggler than the lion's keen vision and group power is definitely an asset.

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Comments (1)

Wow, what a really great article.