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RE: Utility of Scavenger vs. Predator Argument



>Actually, a pride of lions will go after adults, but this is so rare, it
>has hardly been documented, other than failed attempts. Kills? No. But
>the calf of an elephant is still about three times bigger than a single
>male lion. A pride will also go after: giraffes (adult or juvenile)
>wildebeest, zebra, cape buffalo (of african buffalo), gamesbok, and
>other large antelopes, as well as any young first, and pretty much
>everything else that walks that doesn't itself eat meat.

It depends on how desperate (or large) the group of carnivores is.
Carnivores as a general rule go after prey of the most efficient size for
them to deal with.  Going after prey too small may be a losing proposition
as once caught, it may not be large eough to be converted into as much
energy as it took to kill it.  The same problem may be a concern when going
after very large prey, the energy involved in subduing it may be more than
could be gained by eating it, or even too great for the predators to have
enough energy left to dispatch it once they have subdued it.  Also going
after prey larger than is economical greatly increases the risk of injury
to the predators in question.  However, if the're hungry to the point of
being desperate and it's the only potential prey around...

BTW, I saw a nature documentary the other night involving lions, reminded
me of the T-rex-biting-the-Triceratops-on-the-head thread beacuse the
particular lioness in question attacked a Cape Buffalo (a very enormus
dangerous animal with big horns), which charged it, but the lioness parried
the attack by clamping on to the buffalo's face with its teeth and twisting
the head out of the way, and proceeded to swat-tackle to the ground and
dispatch the buffalo in one long, impressive move.  (Come to think of it
maybe it was a wildebeest, but I think it was a buffalo).


Seth A. Ellestad.