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Re: Continental predators, etc.
Please provide me (and the rest of us) if you would, with the citations
of the published works that support the conclusion that you are
expouding - that it is rare that missing one meal is a risk to a
With avian predators, which I know best, it must be, since most hunts
actually fail. There probably are some statistics around somewhere in
the literature, I'll see if I can find any. For the Sparrow-Hawk
_Accipiter nisus_ where I have seen quite a few hunts probably at least
75% are failures and I think this is fairly typical. Ospreys (which
catch fish) are rather more successful, but the only raptor I can
remember that was consistently successful every time (in the 6 hunts I
watched) was a Bat Hawk. This was hardly typical though since it was
hunting in a flock of about 2 million bats as they were leaving their
Mammalian predators are not easy to watch while hunting, but the two
species which I have watched hunting often enough for the results to be
statistically significant (European Fox and Domestic Cat) also fail most
of the time.
Hunting for dinner is a risk to every predator as well as the prey. One
error during the process and the predator itself becomes potential
carrion - not perhaps right away, but sporting perhaps an injury that
makes hunting more of a challenge . It is a slippery slope indeed, to
the death once that happens.
Exactly, and that's why predators normally avoid dangerous prey. As I
said above it's only rarely that You actually have an opportunity to
watch large mammalian predators hunting, but what I _have_ seen at least
three times is Lions hanging around Wart Hogs with young. They were
clearly quite desirous of suckling pig but they never did attack, mother
Wart Hogs being quite dangerous animals.