Predators are animals that hunt and eat other animals. Even though predators do eat meat, many predators also eat some vegetable and fruit matter in their diets. Bears and cats are types of predators that are at the top of the food chain. Many other animals, such as otters and weasels, are in the middle where they are both predator and prey. Over the years, all predators have adapted to be faster, stronger and more stealthy to keep up with the defenses of their prey. Take a look at the various strategies these animals use to survive.
Poisons and Toxins
Some predators rely upon poisons to kill their prey for them. This allows them to take down animals much larger than themselves, by moving in quickly for a bite, then retreating to a safe spot to wait for the toxin to take effect. Many snakes and spiders use this method of killing.
Teeth and Claws
Teeth and claws not only allow predators to catch their prey, but to kill it as well. Each animal has specially adapted tools of the trade, so to speak, that function well for their needs. Some, like the cheetah, use their claws for traction when running at high speeds, rather than for hunting.
Some predators are able to use products found in their habitats to make tools that help them hunt. These animals are very intelligent and can create the necessary tools for any job. Because of diverse habitats, there can be great variance in the tools created by the same species living in different areas. The creation and use of tools is passed on from generation to generation over many years of watching skilled adults at work. Predators that use tools generally have offspring that spend many years with the parents to learn such complex techniques.
Most people think of prey as the ones in need of camouflage, but predators are equally dependent upon blending in. Most predators do not run as fast as their prey, and must sneak up or ambush them without being detected. In order to accomplish this, they must remain well hidden for long periods of time. Cryptic coloration, where the animal blends in with its surroundings, is important for most predators.
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