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-   -   What Animals Have No Natural Enemies (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=5771)

Markxxx 09-11-1999 03:47 PM

Not counting humans as enemies, AND assuming the animal is full grown and healthy I can only think of a few.

Gorilla
Elephant
Alligator
Bear (Grizzly or Polar)

I was thinking lions have hyena packs that can kill a full grown lion.

Maybe Hippos, Rhinos and Giraffes?

Any other ideas?

Jophiel 09-11-1999 03:56 PM

Tiger
Snow Leopard (I think the others have enemies, thus them pulling carcasses up into trees)
Camel
Monitor Lizard

I'll agree with you about hippo, giraffe and rhino.

I'm sure there's a lot more, just too lazy to think up the entire food chain.

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"I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn't."

Bluepony 09-11-1999 05:00 PM

Hmmm....I'm no natural history major so here's my WAGs.

Great white sharks
Most birds of prey
Killer whales
Crocodiles (technically different from gators)
Anacondas
Wolverines
Wolves
Blue whales
Whale sharks
Large cows with machine guns
Penguins in PT Boats
(okay...now I'm reaching, I'll just end this)

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"...send lawyers, guns, and money..."

Warren Zevon

mangeorge 09-11-1999 05:46 PM

The mighty flea, enemy to most animals. :)
Prace,
mangeorge

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Work like you don't need the money.....
Love like you've never been hurt.....
Dance like nobody's watching! ....(Paraphrased)

RTA 09-11-1999 05:57 PM

Many species that have been imported to a place they did not evolve have no natural enemies. Which is why they can devastate ecosystems.
This happens a lot on, say, South Pacific islands where animals like pigs and housecats cause a lot of problems with the native species.

Ken 09-11-1999 05:57 PM

Don't forget about the sheep that give us steel wool.

RealityChuck 09-11-1999 06:10 PM

Quote:

The mighty flea, enemy to most animals.
"So, naturalists observe, a flea
Hath smaller fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller still to bite 'em;
And so proceed ad infinitim

-- Jonathan Swift

(And, yes, fleas have parasites that prey on them.)

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www.sff.net/people/rothman

BobT 09-11-1999 06:39 PM

Crows and ravens

09-11-1999 08:01 PM

Crows And Ravens? No, mink kill them, & I've seen it happen, so give me no shit.


Otters, however; they have no natural enemies.

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We have met the enemy, and He is Us.--Walt Kelly

BenDover 09-11-1999 09:44 PM

Depends on what you mean by 'natural enemies'. Prey animals have natural enemies in the predators that live off of them. Few predators have natural enemies - their lives are risky enough as it is - but occasionally conflicts over shared food sources arise, as with hyenas and lions. Some predators are prey themselves when young - for example, baby alligators are eaten by fish, birds, turtles, etc. that may, in turn, become the prey of adult alligators.

Actually, all living creatures have 'natural enemies' - disease-causing organisms such as bacteria and viruses.

Big Iron 09-11-1999 11:55 PM

[[Crows And Ravens? No, mink kill them, & I've seen it happen, so give me no shit.]]Daniel Bostaph


Great Horned Owls will also prey on crows.

Jorge 09-12-1999 12:31 AM

Most of the ones you all have cited as not having natural enemies do... tiger cubs, alligators (babies & eggs), etc...

Gotta be more specific.

One of the few I can think of: albatrosses have no natural enemies, not even the eggs or hatchlings. (The No.Pacific varieties, anyway, nesting on Midway and Laysan...)

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"Proverbs for Paranoids, 3: If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers."
- T.Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow.

BobT 09-12-1999 01:57 AM

I'm glad to find out that crows have some predators. Unfortunately, suburban Southern California is low on owls and minks.

I guess a really ornery cat could go after a crow, but I think it would be a tough battle.

Who preys on the pigeon?

Omniscient 09-12-1999 03:04 AM

Hey Jorge, you may want to reread the OP.
Quote:

Not counting humans as enemies, AND assuming the animal is full grown and healthy I can only think of a few.
As for what animals, well most of the large animals mentioned fit the bill, but I guess its not an exact science. Water Buffalo who are full grown and healthy are pretty safe, but I wouldn't say they have no natural enemies. I guess a better question is what species have no natural predators in their environment. Here, most of the big cats fit becuase AFAIK only the kittens fall prey to hyenas and jackals. Giraffes are safe once they are grown, but thats because they are too big to be killed not because lions won't do it.

Pigeons in cities have not predators, but in the wild they do, do they count? In Australia many introduced animals have no predators, but in their original climes they do. Consideration of these situations is confusing.

Komodo(?) Dragons have no predators.

Do canibalistic animals count? Black Widows have no predators I am aware of except their own.

Humans have no enemies by some accounts. A bear or lion may kill us, but they don't prey on us.

Cattle and Buffalo probably didn't, but what things were like before domestication is beyond me.

Coral isn't eaten I don't believe, but I could be wrong.

Tigers, Dolphins, Vultures, Condors, and Horses

AuraSeer 09-12-1999 04:25 AM

Dolphins are occasionally attacked by sharks.

Coral is eaten by the parrotfish, plus lots of other things.

Horses usually lack predators for the same reason that Yorkshire Terriers do; they're domesticated, so we humans keep their enemies away.

funneefarmer 09-12-1999 05:14 AM

Pigeons, most of our barn cats have brought down full grown, healthy pigeons, don't they have stray cats in the city anymore?

Poto 09-12-1999 06:27 AM

Deer in North America. Only controlled by the CAR. Hunters are less useful in population control. Other than wiping out each other.

Markxxx 09-12-1999 08:25 AM

Most of the smaller cats are subject to attacks by lions and hyenas. Hyena packs have attacked lions. Lions attack cheetah's and leopards.

The Great Horned Owl has been known to attack eagles. Lions will attack water buffalos. (usally not a smart move by the lions but I just saw this on nature. It took the lions a long time to overpower the female buffalo).

DSYoungEsq 09-12-1999 02:55 PM

Actually, the original post is kind of stupid. Nothing exists independent of the food chain. Even 'healthy' animals fall prey to diseases like viruses. Man him/herself has many 'natural' predators. To try and isolate the issue in terms of whether any animal 'preys' on a species is to take a very limited view of the interrelationship of the whole. :)

Diane 09-12-1999 03:26 PM

Quote:

Pigeons in cities have not predators, but in the wild they do, do they
count? In Australia many introduced animals have no predators, but in
their original climes they do. Consideration of these situations is
confusing.
Some peregrine falcons make their nests on the ledges of tall buildings. In fact, until recently, a pair would return year after year to nest upon the Joseph Smith Building in downtown Salt Lake City. Their main food was sparrows and pigeons.

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KITTEN

Coarse and violent nudity. Occasional language.

Jorge 09-12-1999 03:32 PM

Omniscient, you're correct about the OP. My error, I was caught up in the swirl of the variety of assumptions (other than the ones accounted for in OP) by subsequent posters.

But I still say one needs to limit geography (brown tree snakes in Guam as opposed to native range); and time frame, too: komodo dragons had predators (a larger varanid) - they just happen to be extinct now.

Pigeons are predated upon by falcons and hawks, and as these raptors expand into the cities... So the time frame works both directions. Although:

Quote:

Pigeons, most of our barn cats have brought down full grown, healthy pigeons,
don't they have stray cats in the city anymore?
Apparently the growth of Szechuan restaurants and chicken nuggets has escaped notice.

Sam Stone 09-12-1999 03:38 PM

Otters are preyed upon by all kinds of animals.

Dolphins are hunted and killed by Orcas. I'm not sure if the Orca has any natural predators.

JillGat 09-12-1999 04:48 PM

I don't believe Cecil has addressed this topic, but he probably will in the future. So - in anticipation of that - I think Nickrz should move this thread to the "Cecil's Columns" board.
Jill
Just kidding!

Omniscient 09-12-1999 05:31 PM

Well more of the examples listed contradict the definition as I am applying it. Hyenas have attacked big cats, and big cats attacked one another, but I don't consider it being preyed upon. They are typically just a rivalry for resources or protecting young. This is outside the definition as I chose to use it (if anyone wants to streamline a definition I'd like to hear it.) Same goes for dolphins and sharks (from what I understand dolphins swim circles around a shark and will humble it quite easily), and eagles and owls. None of these animals prey upon one another, but in certain situations (usually not by choice of either species) they will fight, kill, and sometimes eat the other. I am curious what animals killed horses in undomesticated times.

NanoByte 09-12-1999 05:37 PM

Quote:

Pigeons are predated upon. . .
Does the existence of 'predation' imply that of a corresponding verb 'predate'? My dictionary doesn't mention the latter, merely equating 'predate' to 'antedate'. I think targeted pigeons should only have "expiration" dates. Whaddaya think?

Ray

Kat 09-12-1999 08:12 PM

Quote:

I am curious what animals killed horses in undomesticated times.
I have read that cougars (mountain lions, pumas, whatever you call 'em) had a tendency to prey on horses if they happened upon them.

Omniscient 09-12-1999 08:34 PM

I thought horses were only found on the Eurasian land mass (maybe Africa to), while the coug/puma/mountain lion was only found in the Americas. I suppose ferral horses imported by settlers may have been preyed upon, but does that make them "natural" predators?

BenDover 09-12-1999 08:41 PM

Horses are prey to big cats, wolves, and wild dogs. Modern horses are not native to the Americas, so their natural predators would be native to Asia and Europe. However, pumas, jaguars, wolves, etc. had no problem adapting to their presence in the Americas.

Jorge 09-12-1999 10:18 PM

A brief aside... these "top" animals don't necessarily seem to be top predators.

Markxxx 09-13-1999 09:42 PM

I guess what I was getting at in the orginal post was what amimals can, say for example, pretty much go about their business without having to worry about getting attacked.

I mean Elephants pretty much always have the right of way. Hippos will walk into a river full of alligators (or crocs), Sperm Wales don't worry about sharks. (Actually I was reading that the biggest preditor of a shark is a larger shark).

pluto 09-14-1999 12:58 AM

Since I have already been on a New Zealand thread this morning ...

Prior to the introduction of pigs, rats, cats, dogs, etc. by humans (starting about A.D. 1000) the birds of New Zealand (the dominant fauna) had no natural enemies, at least in the sense of predators. The only mammals on the islands were bats and pinnipeds. None of the birds were carnivorous, so although they competed with each other for ecological niches they didn't eat each other.

Two things resulted from this -- 1) a lot of flightless bird species developed, and 2) the native fauna were easy picking for the introduced predators. IIRC, in the Chatham Islands (near NZ) the lighthouse keeper's cat was personally responsible for the extinction of a number of species of small birds.


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"non sunt multiplicanda entia praeter necessitatem"
-- William of Ockham

Doug Yanega 09-15-1999 07:40 PM

Well, then, you should realize at least two important ways in which the question isn't a fair one: (1) NO animal is immune from being attacked for its *entire* life, even an elephant. (2) just because an animal has no living predators NOW doesn't mean it's always been that way. I'm sure that Dire Wolves, Saber-toothed cats, and other large Pleistocene predators preyed on a lot of modern animals before they became extinct - and other large modern predators used to occur over much larger areas than they now occupy.

Lovetheoutdoors 04-06-2017 03:41 PM

Predators= True carnivores, Prey= Herbivores, Omnivorous animals
 
Actually, cats don't have natural predators. There are no animals that seek out or prey on cats. Cats are strict carnivores, coyotes are not obligate carnivores. If their paths cross, they will probably fight and kill eachother.

HoneyBadgerDC 04-06-2017 03:57 PM

Pumas will hunt and kill smaller adult wolves as a food source.
Cats are eaten by owls, hawks, eagles, coyotes, foxes.

nearwildheaven 04-06-2017 04:00 PM

Do 18-year-old zombies have any natural predators?

:D

TSBG 04-06-2017 04:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lovetheoutdoors (Post 20119396)
Actually, cats don't have natural predators. There are no animals that seek out or prey on cats. Cats are strict carnivores, coyotes are not obligate carnivores. If their paths cross, they will probably fight and kill each other.

You would feel a little differently if you lived in Southern California. Coyotes actively seek out and kill cats (and small dogs, and will stalk large dogs).

Also, while I can't say it's never happened, I've never heard of a cat owner waking up in the morning to find her living, triumphant pet with the tattered carcass of a coyote.

Procrustus 04-06-2017 04:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ;94065
Crows And Ravens? No, mink kill them, & I've seen it happen, so give me no shit.


Otters, however; they have no natural enemies.

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We have met the enemy, and He is Us.--Walt Kelly

Unnamed historical poster, I can tell you that otters do have natural enemies. I saw a Bald Eagle try to catch one once. (in your defense, it was probably a few years after you posted this)

aldiboronti 04-06-2017 06:43 PM

I agree with Omniscient above, humans have no natural enemies at all if we are discounting viruses and bacteria, as we must because no animal would qualify if we didn't. I'm sure humans had natural enemies in the past but now we sit at the top of the food chain as do lions, tigers, etc.

markn+ 04-06-2017 07:08 PM

It really depends on how you define "prey on". Polar bears certainly prey on humans by any definition. Nile crocodiles attack hundreds of people every year and kill and eat most of those they attack. Tigers kill many hundreds of people each year, although one might argue about how many of these attacks are really predation.

Ambivalid 04-06-2017 07:25 PM

What about blue whales? I mean, what the fuck could possibly pose a physical threat to such a monster?

purplehearingaid 04-06-2017 07:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Poto (Post 94073)
Deer in North America. Only controlled by the CAR. Hunters are less useful in population control. Other than wiping out each other.

I saw a half eaten deer at the beach once, coyotes killed the deer and left part of it the water. We still have some coyotes left in Ma, my state.

Cockroaches don't seem to have any natural enemies , I sure wish they did !

enipla 04-06-2017 08:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ambivalid (Post 20119874)
What about blue whales? I mean, what the fuck could possibly pose a physical threat to such a monster?

That was going to be my first thought. Unless giant squid.

And as someone mentioned above, cougars/mountain lions. A healthy one in it's natural environment has nothing that could take it. I discount that wolves could take it because they aren't really in the same environment. And no bear could catch one, not that it would want to.

Guinastasia 04-06-2017 09:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ambivalid (Post 20119874)
What about blue whales? I mean, what the fuck could possibly pose a physical threat to such a monster?

Killer whales. Orcas are the apex predators of the ocean -- they'll even eat great whites. (Seriously, if I had to be one animal on the planet, I'd be a killer whale. They're total bad asses)

Tibby or Not Tibby 04-06-2017 09:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Guinastasia (Post 20120045)
Killer whales. Orcas are the apex predators of the ocean -- they'll even eat great whites. (Seriously, if I had to be one animal on the planet, I'd be a killer whale. They're total bad asses)

I agree. I once messed with an orca. I won't make that mistake again.

Jophiel 04-06-2017 09:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lovetheoutdoors (Post 20119396)
Actually, cats don't have natural predators. There are no animals that seek out or prey on cats. Cats are strict carnivores, coyotes are not obligate carnivores. If their paths cross, they will probably fight and kill each other.

If by "kill each other" you mean "the coyote will eat the cat on go on its happy way with a fully belly and wagging tail..."

Wild African cats (as in the little ones, not lions & leopards) are preyed upon by jackals and wild dogs.

Tibby or Not Tibby 04-06-2017 09:57 PM

My vote for “animal” with no natural enemy is antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Pit orca against MRSA, in a cage match? I predict orca will be spanked hard...unless Chuck Norris is orca's tag team member.

Darren Garrison 04-07-2017 05:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tibby or Not Tibby[URL="http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/member.php?u=55317"
[/URL]]My vote for “animal” with no natural enemy is antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

(Throat-clearing noise.)

constanze 04-07-2017 05:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Markxxx (Post 94057)
Not counting humans as enemies, AND assuming the animal is full grown and healthy

It sounds as if you are thinking of animals being attacked by other species for Food. But every adult animal is competing with the adults of its own species for Food, Habitat and mating. Two deer, or mutton sheep, will run headfirst at each other to win females.

Hippos don't eat meat, yet they cause many deaths in Africa attacking humans on the water as intruders into their space, or trampling anything underfoot when they leave the water.

Tibby or Not Tibby 04-07-2017 05:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darren Garrison (Post 20120529)

Yes, but prokaryotic bacteria are at least in the general neighborhood of “animal/plant” lifeforms. Viruses are more like tiny non-living rotten robots.

Darren Garrison 04-07-2017 06:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by constanze (Post 20120538)
Hippos don't eat meat

Actually, they do.

(So do cows. And deer.)


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