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> Michael wrote:
> > Sun Tzu said he will win who waits to take the enemy unprepared.  He
> > learned that from a dragon I think.
> Smart man.  You can learn a lot about successful tactics by watching
> predators hunt.

I was quoting him directly but he didn't learn it from a dragon.  I 
made that up.
> > > Granted that _Deinonychus_ looks like an agile, fast, active
> > > animal, and granted that the hind-foot claw looks big and sharp and
> > > nasty enough to shred anything made of flesh -- still, why would a
> > > killing weapon be placed on the _hind_ foot when it had perfectly
> > > serviceable jaws and forelimbs equipped with their own array of
> > > customized cutlery?
> > 
> > The better to eat you with said the Deinonychus.  Leopards disembowel prey
> > with their hindclaws and they have very nice frontal weaponry.
> The films I've seen of leopards hunting show them hanging on with
> hindclaws (and foreclaws too) and killing with a bite to the windpipe or
> occasionally to the spinal cord, precisely like other cats.  Cats'
> killing weapons are their teeth, not their claws.  I think that's true
> for almost all extant land and airborne predators: claws catch and
> wound, but jaws kill.  Even hawks and other birds of prey usually kill
> with the beak.  When you think about it, putting a killing weapon on the
> foot makes very little sense (to me, at least). Feet have to be on the
> ground most of the time, don't they?

Well, I have seen them kill in person and I talked about this with 
Alan Shoemaker, a predatory mammal expert and curator at the zoo in 
Columbia, SC, and yes leopards generally kill with a suffocating bite 
to the throat like most big cats.  But they do use their hindclaws as 
well enough for it not to be unusual.  Particularly with struggling 
> > Lions do not climb trees very often, but they do. They will climb
> > trees to escape buffalo and to take a leopards kill(rare).  Standard defense
> > against a hyena pack is to fight back.  Only when injured or
> > overwhelmed and alone will a lion run from hyenas.  When they do they leave
> > with their bottoms on the ground, turning often to strike at their
> > tormentors who wisely stay out of the way.  If a lion is injured
> > badly enough or crippled it can be killed but this does not often
> > happen.  
> Ever watched the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC film "Eternal Enemies: Lions and
> Hyenas?"  Yes, hyenas attack lions, and yes, lions run from hyenas
> rather than fighting.  Hyena-lion battles are common, and whichever side
> has the highest total mass wins.  Four lionesses can match six or eight
> hyenas, but when you have 10-20 hyenas against five lionesses, the
> lionesses are going to lose.  So the lionesses run, or climb, to get
> away.  I suspect that if you had two competing species of midsize
> theropods, both hunting the same prey, you'd wind up with roughly the
> same situation.  Fights over kills would be frequent, kill-stealing
> would also be frequent, and both species would need some way to get away
> when the battle goes against them.  Hyenas can run, lions can run or
> climb -- what could a beleaguered _Velociraptor_ do?  
> -- JSW
Yes hyenas occasionally kill lions, but if you watched them in the 
wild you would know that this is very unusual despite what you see on 
TV.  Lions are often twice as large as hyenas(spotted) and male lions 
bigger still.  Twenty hyaenas will not mess with one male lion.  
Unless something is wrong with a lioness generally hyenas don't 
bother them and that is because if one out of the pack gets too  close 
it is dead within seconds.  And they do not fight often.  It isn't a 
healthy propostion for either side, especially the hyenas.  Lions 
steal their kills all the time.  I have seen twenty or so run off two 
lioness from a kill they took from several hyena previously.
 I think I'm going to lurk awhile.

Michael Teuton
803-732-2327 Phone
803-749-6191 Fax