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Successful Predators

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Bothali
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Successful Predators

Unread postby Bothali » Fri Mar 10, 2006 8:29 pm

The spotted hyena is a very successful predator.
It is in fact a far more successful predator than the lion.
It is often the lion that scavenges food from the hyena rather than the other way around.
Prey species allow the hyena to get closer than any other predator.
Scientists don't know why this is the case.
A reason for their success is that prey species are unmindful of the hyena's staying power and drop from exhaustion within 1.5 - 5 kms.
Hyenas can gallop at a top speed of 60 kph for up to 3 kms, can maintain 40 - 50 kph for several kms more and can lope tirelessly at 10 kph mile after mile.
Hyenas eat as fast as possible and compete for food in this way at a kill rather than fighting.
The hyena can consume up to a third of its own weight compared to a quarter by the lion.
The quarreling of hyenas around a kill serves to attract other clan members.
Where there are fewer hyenas around a kill (eg. 2), they will feed in silence.
Other predators waste up to 40% of their kills, whereas the spotted hyena eats virtually everything.
Hunting success rates for a single hyena is about 26% (75% of their hunting is solitary) and for more than one hyena they are successful 43% of the time.

The lion can maintain a top speed of 50 - 60 kph for a distance of 100m.
The success rate of solitary hunters is only 17 - 19% compared to 30% when two or more lions are involved. Lions apparently don't learn to take wind direction into account during a hunt (this according to research).

I have twice witnessed packs of hyenas hunting zebra close to Satara on a night drive and close to Sirheni on a night drive.

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Unread postby LittleLeopard » Fri Mar 10, 2006 10:04 pm

Very interesting Bothali. I always thought all Hyaenas were scavengers, but this is evidently not the case. :? Wikipedia has information on Hyaenas that supports your points:
Hyenas are also highly intelligent predators, even more intelligent than the lions (some scientists claim they are of equal intelligence to certain apes). One indication of hyena intelligence is that hyenas will move their kills closer to each other to protect them from scavengers; another indication is their strategic hunting methods.

and
Despite common belief, only some species belonging to this family are scavengers: while the brown and the striped hyena derive most of their diets from scavenging, the spotted hyena is not only a real predator, but also the most effective predator on the African savannah. The Aardwolf usually eat insects like termites.
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Unread postby madach » Fri Mar 10, 2006 10:12 pm

Spotted hyaena are very adaptable animals which will adept to the local situation. In the Makuleke Contract Park in the North of the KNP the spotted hyaena is considered to be the top predator due to the low lion density. Down South in the KNP I suspect that spotted hyaenas are mainly scavengers due to a high lion density.

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Unread postby Imberbe » Sat Mar 11, 2006 12:08 am

As in many cases it is a matter of interpretation of the facts.

I would not at all dis-agree with the opinion that Bothali put on the screen!

Spotted Hyena are indeed very capable predators, and in areas of high density they are often the main predator in a given area!

This does however not change the fact that they are also scavengers! It is a well known fact that they actively scavenge, and will even follow animals such as Leopard, Cheetah and Wild dog to scavenge their kills.

In fact most other predators are also scavengers!

Madach makes a valuable point in pointing out that Hyena often play different roles according to what circumstance dictate.

To state that: "the spotted hyena is not only a real predator, but also the most effective predator on the African savannah" is purely a matter of interpretation. How do you judge which is the most effective predator? Different sets of criteria would give you different answers!

Hyena are truly wonderful animals, and do not deserve the "bad press" they often get! :wink:
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Unread postby madach » Sat Mar 11, 2006 12:25 am

Tabs wrote:
madach wrote:Down South in the KNP I suspect that spotted hyaenas are mainly scavengers due to a high lion density.


I am not sure that this is true Madach but am also not prepared to argue the point as you have much more experience than I do of Kruger and the animals that exist in the southern part of the park :cry:

I'm also not sure of it so arguing the point is pointless :lol: The way to make sure is probably to ask Gus Mills.

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Unread postby Tabs » Sat Mar 11, 2006 12:27 am

Wild dogs have a hunting success of between 40 - 85% - I don't know what the figures are for the spotted hyaena as they do not always hunt in packs - I have seen many lone hyaenas on the hunt but I do not believe that wild dogs ever hunt alone - so as far as I am aware the wild dog is the most effective large predator in Africa.

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Unread postby Bothali » Sat Mar 11, 2006 2:37 am

There are many sources that say that wild dogs are the most effective predator in Africa and that this is due to their hunting in packs. From what I can gather, leopards are probably the second most effective followed by hyena.

With regard to lion hunting behaviour, a lot of the research seems to have been done on the Serengeti and elsewhere on the African plains, where the landscape is different and hunting patterns would probably not be the same here.

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Animal activity at various times of day...

Unread postby Graham_5000 » Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:53 pm

I have always been told most of the predators are active in the early morning, evening, and some at night. This makes sense in terms of escaping the midday heat and not hunting at this time. Does this pattern change in the winter though when the midday heat is less oppressive?
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Re: Animal activity at various times of day...

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Sat Mar 31, 2012 7:02 pm

Hi Graham,

a lovely question.

Most predators are opportunistic, think of the domestic cat. They will kill if the opportunity comes their way.

My experience, however, has often been that there has been a certain predictability.
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Re: Animal activity at various times of day...

Unread postby Graham_5000 » Sat Mar 31, 2012 7:07 pm

Hmm yes that makes sense. It would be interesting to track Lions and Leopards with gps to see if their daily movements change between summer and winter..

I wonder if the same daily routine pattern applies to other mammals like rhino, elephant etc?
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Re: Animal activity at various times of day...

Unread postby Graham_5000 » Sun Apr 01, 2012 6:48 pm

Is this the case even in winter when it does not get too hot? Will be up early for Wild dogs every morning!
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Re: Animal activity at various times of day...

Unread postby Brummie » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:50 am

Boorgatspook wrote:There are always surprises that awaits. Have seen Honey badger @ 12:00 in summer on the tar road between Lower Sabie and Tshokwane. Animals don't always follow the manual :wink:


That's 'cos they daint write the manual :wink:

They (who is 'they' btw?) say that it's a waste of time going on a game drive mid-day - yet my experience is that in winter game is hopping about all day - so predators have probably sussed that out!
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Re: Animal activity at various times of day...

Unread postby Elsa » Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:48 am

My feelings are that the only predictable thing about animals is the unpredictability!
and I am never not amazed by some happening every time we visit a park.
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Re: Animal activity at various times of day...

Unread postby FlorisCathy » Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:18 pm

The biggest chance for a predator to catch a prey animal is when they make use of a surprise attack. In the night or with the gloam, cats can see better than the prey animals and thus have a higher chance to surprise them (when they only use their hearing for running away).

For cheetahs I think it's different... Cheetahs catch a prey not only by surprise, but also by using speed. When it's dark, they don't see roughness of the ground very well and have a higher probability to wrench their legs. So I think, cheetahs also hunt on day time, but only when it's not too hot to prevent themselves against overheating.

I wonder how you forumites think about that?
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Re: Animal activity at various times of day...

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:37 pm

The (incorrect) assumption is that it is cool in the lowveld winter's midday. It can get rather warm even in June/July.

The animals settle to a daily pattern, but that is the norm not the rule.

I have seen lions hunting at midday, but they mostly stay put, but if they are roadside, you will get a great view. Others shelter as well, so if you are prepared to ride around, you might get some great sightings.

The only animal that hides in great numbers at midday is the one that drives around like mad at dawn!
Last edited by Bush Baptist on Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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