Lions stalk their unsuspecting prey till they are within a reasonable distance to pounce because they are not as fast as other predators. They are also known to wait close to spots where preys frequently visit such at water holes. The savannah environment, which is composed of tall brown grasses help the lions to camouflage, aiding their hunting. However, lions are known not to factor in wind direction, and will approach prey even from the side the wind is blowing from, which is a major undoing. They breed in prides, made up of closely related females and their cubs and a maximum of 3 males. The females engage in most of the hunting and work as a team.
Crocodiles are extremely rapid hunters. They eat fish, birds and mammals. A crocodile lies close to the water surface and pounce on an unsuspecting prey that will usually have come to drink water. It grabs they victim’s neck, pull it into the water as it twists to drown it. Crocodiles bring down even animals as large as buffaloes and elephants. At times, they hunt in packs of about five where they kill prey as big as hippos or rhinoceros. In Kenya’s Masai Mara, crocodiles kill lots of wildebeests and zebras, especially as they cross the River Mara, during the annual wildebeest migration.
Cheetahs are the fastest animals on land. This primarily aids in their hunting as they catch animals that other hunters cannot. They are however sprinters and hence cannot run for long distances. They will therefore approach the prey stealthily, usually downwind. Cheetahs are disadvantaged by their small sized body. They are also very shy and cowardly. Wild dogs, hyenas or even lions that may have been watching the ensuing drama will snatch they kill, even before the cheetah catches its breath.
Leopards hunt by themselves usually at night. They are very solitary animals. Their diet mainly comprises monkeys and ungulates. They may also eat fish, rodents and amphibians. A Leopard stalks their prey stealthily and pounces when extremely close enough. It will then drag the kill to the top of a tree, where it feeds slowly, probably even more than a day. This makes it difficult for other predators to steal the kill or disturb it.
Wild dogs hunt in packs, which can be up to 20 members. They can reach a speed of 50km/hr. They mainly prey on antelopes but can bring down even zebras and wildebeests if the pack is bigger. They work as a team when hunting. Some dogs will chase close and directly while others will be on both sides running not very fast and will take over the direct chase when the prey starts for the direction they are in. They prey will tire soon and slow down, and present the chance for the pack to catch it.
Although known to scavenge on the remains of dead animals, hyenas also hunt on their own. Their hind legs are short and their hearts are bigger than even lions’, enabling them to be long distance runners. They will therefore chase a prey for a long distance, running at a moderate speed. The prey will eventually tire and hence get caught.