Why do some animals kill their own kind?

We all know that the food chain is ruthless.

Leatherbacks simply can’t go on without chowing down on jellyfish. And owls need to eat rodents to get by. But what of animals that kill or attack their own kind?

Gray Wolves

wolf

Wolves work as a pack, but that pack is structured into a strict hierarchy system. There’s always one dominant male and a dominant female. Everyone in the pack knows who’s at the top – even their stance is different. Dominant wolves stand strong with their tails held high and submissive wolves are supposed to take note. They’re supposed to stay close to the ground, with their tails behind their legs to show their subservience. If they don’t, and they confront a dominant wolf, they’ll likely be attacked.

Western Toad

Western toad

When mating season arrives after the snow has melted (usually between April and July), Western Toads can be relentless in their pursuit for a mate. Some even lose their lives in the process. Males will hop on top of a female. However, they may continue to pile on even after one male is already on top, creating a ball which can drown the female underneath.

Cougars

cougar

With the largest range of all terrestrial mammals in the western hemisphere, the Cougar lives a solitary life and often in quite harsh conditions. They often live within a certain range and are incredibly territorial. They’ll often mark their territory covering leaves and dirt with their urine and feces. But sometimes, when these wild cats have to compete for limited resources, it will lead to a fight that can lead to death. Moreover, male Cougars are not to be trusted with its own young. Females usually will not let a male near their kittens as he may lash out violently and kill them if he doesn’t realize they are his own kittens.

Bullies in the Wild

5 animals that are anything but polite

It’s a jungle out there. Animals are constantly in competition, but some animals take it a little too far. Survival of the fittest is all fair and well, but some animals are downright bullies! These five animals could really benefit from learning their manners.

Cowbird

cowbird

A female cowbird lays her egg in other birds’ nests, hiding them so the females caring for those nests raise her fledgling as their own. Once the chick hatches, it’s quite the bully – pushing the other eggs out of the nest and growing to be twice the size of the other chicks.

Coyote

coyote

Slimmer and smaller than the wolf, coyotes love to scavenge for food from smaller animals, and will target some small livestock such as sheep. Much to the farmer’s frustration, coyotes sneak under fences into pens and prey on unsuspecting sheep.

Wild Boars

wild boar quebec

Indestructible, fearsome, and tough. Some Wild Boars that have escaped from farms in Calgary, have become a dominant and dangerous species throughout Saskatchewan. They have spread like wildfire, causing destruction to property, killing other animals, wreaking havoc in habitats and even posing a threat to humans along their way. Steer clear of these guys!

Gulls

gull in ontario

Sometimes known as the “pirates of the seashore” these swooping white birds are well recognized as thieves of a sea-side meal. But gulls will also target Brown Pelicans. They’re not very common in Canada but they can sometimes be spotted as far north as British Columbia and Nova Scotia too. These pelicans catch fish in their throats and hold them there until they can land. When the Brown Pelican touches the ground, gulls swoop in and steal the fish straight out of the pelican’s mouth! Thieving little gulls!

Sperm Whales

sperm whale

Depending on whose side you take, the sperm whale could be considered a bully: of humans! Sperm Whales have been recorded sitting near fishing boats, seemingly without a care in the world. But when the nets get pulled up, the 40 tonne whale moves with surprising speed, snatching up the fisherman’s catch for their own dinner! Some might say that humans have it coming but hey, that’s still surprisingly sneaky for Sperm Whales.