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Group hunting in animal world

Updated on December 8, 2015
Cheetahs hunt in small groups
Cheetahs hunt in small groups | Source

Wild animals do whatever it takes to survive. Instinct tells them to follow the lead and great hunters always know the best way to hunt down their prey. However, just like in the human world, many species join others to form groups. This way they can be both more effective and can target larger animals.

Benefits of hunting in groups

Hunting in groups has many benefits:

  • Allows to consume less energy when chasing the prey. Surrounding the victim makes it easier and requires less running, resulting in less energy consumption. This could be crucial in drought times when there is not enough food anyway.
  • Bigger pack means larger prey. Hunting together allows smaller predators hunt victims larger than themselves. Surrounded victim, even if capable of defending itself from one attacker, eventually gets exhausted and gives up.
  • Sharing food means everybody gets a piece. This way, even if some members of the pack is weak or sick, they will still get food, even if it’s just the rest of what’s left.
  • Hunting in groups allows to cover larger areas with more potential food sources. Some species may go hunting for many miles to find sources of food and traveling in packs allows them to go even further.

Wolves are great at group hunt. They have a small chance of survival without their pack
Wolves are great at group hunt. They have a small chance of survival without their pack | Source

Group hunting among species

Some species form packs, others just join forces to hunt together. Either way, it is obvious that survival is an ultimate driving force for any living species. They will do whatever it takes to survive. Here are some examples of group hunting.

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Cheetah

Considered the fastest animal in the world, these incredible mammals can speed up the plains up to 120 km/h. These big cats are among the most sociable, male siblings tend to stay together for lifetime. Often, even unrelated males may be living and hunting together. Hunting together allows cheetahs surround their prey and attack it simultaneously. Because they can only run at high speeds for about 300 meters, hunting in groups increases their chances of catching the prey that would otherwise get away.

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Orcas

Orcas, or killer whales, are the ultimate predators of the ocean. They often come in groups to hunt together. Orcas don’t have natural enemies. They are incredibly intelligent and supportive. A group would come together and create a wave that can wash the seals off the floating ice. A mother teaches young orca to hunt by playing with the seal, tossing it around. This reckless behaviour may seem incredibly cruel, but in fact it’s just the way life works.

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Army ants

These little creatures seem harmless on their own. They are, however, a threat to anything that might be on their way. Hunting together in groups, they attack their prey and cut it into pieces with their sharp jaws. These pieces are then taken back to their nest and consumed by other ants. Thanks to such hunting technique large prey can be captured. For instance, animals as large as scorpions can be considered a prey for these types of ants. Ants are considered the cleaners of the forest as they take care of animal rests.

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Piranhas

Piranha in Portuguese means fish with teeth. These little predators are a threat to smaller animals and other fish. Hunting in larger groups, they attack their prey all at once. Attacks on humans are rather rare. Thanks to razor sharp teeth they can tear their prey into pieces within seconds. However, despite the myths, piranhas are actually rather peaceful creatures and avoid hunting large prey if they can. Instead, they would be looking for injured or already dead animals.

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African Wild Dogs

These rather small canines are highly sociable, living in large packs with strict hierarchy. By hunting in groups they exhaust large mammals like antelopes and attack them once they give up. What makes them special are their relationships within the pack. Unlike others, these animals take care of old and sick, as well as their cubs, bringing them food when the hunt turns out to be successful. They can hunt the prey down for as far as 2 km at the speed up to 66 km/h. Male dogs grab larger prey by the nose, whereas small and medium sized animals are killed with quick and precise bites.

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Chimps

Chimpanzees are our closest relatives – 98% of their DNA is identical to human. Although chimps eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, it has been discovered that they occasionally hunt for red colobus monkeys. Hunting takes place in dry season and mostly done by male chimps. By working together, chimpanzees surround the monkeys, looking for young and weak. They would then cut off the child from its mother and get their prey. Only by working in groups they achieve success, increasing their chance for catching the prey. Although chimps don’t really need to hunt for survival, they do hunt as it helps them to regulate relationships within the group.

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Animals and humans

There are many other species who join their forces and hunt together. Some of them come up with incredible plans and find a way to survive the harshest conditions. Our planet is a unique place with so many intelligent, brilliant hunters. Sadly, only humans are a real danger to this world, and the amount of endangered species is only growing each year at alarming speed. Humans need to seriously rethink their attitude towards the nature and Earth’s inhabitants, unless we want to see them disappear forever.

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