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  #1  
Old 04-07-2011, 04:46 PM
Stoid Stoid is offline
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Most successful predator besides us, statistics-wise?

Lots of predators are smart and scary and fearsome... but that doesn't mean they have a really high kill rate. And of course, they probably shouldn't - if they always scored, they might be so successful they'd wipe out their prey populations!

But on nature shows you hear various comments about how lions maybe succeed once in every 3 serious attempts (off the top of my head, I'm not sure that's the actual number) giving them a 33% successful kill rate.

So do we have any idea which among the larger predators (vs. insects or microscopic 'predators" or even prey: baleen whales have a 100% kill rate! But is krill animal or plant? Anyway... I think you know what I'm after here) has the highest success rate per attempt? Is it a mammal, a bird, a reptile or a fish?

I'll throw out a guess and say it's some kind of predatory bird. Not because I have any information to lead me to that, it's just that predatory birds strike me as particularly badass, all things considered: the preternatural sight and the whole flight/speed advantage.

Speaking of which, what is the fastest animal? I'd guess it's a bird again, because of that whole flight/gravity advantage.

I saw a video that was made from a camera attached to some kind of forest-dwelling hawk's head, and it was jaw-dropping to see the way that creature could navigate at high speed between tree trunks.

Anyway, this is me guessing - does anyone actually know which is The Baddest Ass of All?
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  #2  
Old 04-07-2011, 04:50 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Anteater?
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Old 04-07-2011, 04:55 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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Blue whale.

ETA: D'oh! Missed it in the OP.

Last edited by pravnik; 04-07-2011 at 04:56 PM..
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  #4  
Old 04-07-2011, 04:58 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoid View Post
is krill animal or plant?
Animal.
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:02 PM
Stoid Stoid is offline
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Animal.

Then I was right: baleen whales.

But I mean predators going after single animals (didn't think kof anteater specifically, but it's the same idea as baleen whales, really).
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  #6  
Old 04-07-2011, 05:04 PM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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It's a close race between divorce lawyers and amberlamps chasers...

But, seriously, while this whole thing is a bit hard to define, I'd like to throw bats out there for consideration. Airborne and agile as hell in the air with sonar to boot? They deserve some props in the badass category for sure.
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:04 PM
Omniscient Omniscient is offline
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House cat? I mean the guy hardly ever missed the dish of tuna.
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  #8  
Old 04-07-2011, 05:12 PM
Randy Seltzer Randy Seltzer is offline
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Originally Posted by Stoid View Post
Speaking of which, what is the fastest animal? I'd guess it's a bird again, because of that whole flight/gravity advantage.
The world's fastest animal.

For those too lazy to click, it's the cheetah on land, the spine-tailed swift in level flight, and the peregrine falcon in an aerial dive.
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  #9  
Old 04-07-2011, 05:55 PM
Punoqllads Punoqllads is online now
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Badass? Honey badger. Don't let the name fool you. It gets the name from the nonchalance with which it rips open beehives, munching on the larvae as the hive's defenders sting it in vain.
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  #10  
Old 04-07-2011, 06:03 PM
Stoid Stoid is offline
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Again, I guess I know my nature programs in guessing a bird.

But apart from animals that eat insects, we're still without a candidate for best killrate of individual prey...
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  #11  
Old 04-07-2011, 06:03 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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But I mean predators going after single animals ...
At what speed does eating single animals become 'anteater speed'? If you are talking about how successful a predator is, the number of kills per time period is obviously a metric. At some point, one after another will define the winner, which will be the predator that can eat one after another faster than any other.
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  #12  
Old 04-07-2011, 06:08 PM
Princhester Princhester is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoid View Post
I'll throw out a guess and say it's some kind of predatory bird. Not because I have any information to lead me to that, it's just that predatory birds strike me as particularly badass, all things considered: the preternatural sight and the whole flight/speed advantage.
Nah, they miss quite often.
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  #13  
Old 04-07-2011, 06:36 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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How do pack hunters rate? If ten wolves working together bring down a deer, does that count as one success in ten attempts, or one attempt? If the latter, then I suspect that the winner will be wolves.
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  #14  
Old 04-07-2011, 06:51 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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How do pack hunters rate? If ten wolves working together bring down a deer, does that count as one success in ten attempts, or one attempt? If the latter, then I suspect that the winner will be wolves.
But wolves don't make a kill every day. Frogs are pretty handy at knocking down insects, however, and at a much higher rate than wolves and their prey..

Last edited by Fear Itself; 04-07-2011 at 06:51 PM..
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  #15  
Old 04-07-2011, 07:38 PM
Satchmo Satchmo is offline
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Praying Mantis: if you see them, they're not moving. Except when they're grabbing food. It's said if they achieved the weight of frogs, there wouldn't be any larger creatures.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Praying_mantis
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  #16  
Old 04-07-2011, 08:39 PM
Snarky_Kong Snarky_Kong is offline
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Whatever animals feeds on the slowest, dumbest prey.
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  #17  
Old 04-07-2011, 09:01 PM
Stoid Stoid is offline
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Originally Posted by Fear Itself View Post
But wolves don't make a kill every day. Frogs are pretty handy at knocking down insects, however, and at a much higher rate than wolves and their prey..
I'm not looking for the greatest number of kills, I'm looking for the greatest success per attempts. And I know for sure that wolves miss a lot of the time, just like lions do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Satchmo View Post
Praying Mantis: if you see them, they're not moving. Except when they're grabbing food. It's said if they achieved the weight of frogs, there wouldn't be any larger creatures.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Praying_mantis
I specifically excluded insects. Mantises are cool, though.
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  #18  
Old 04-07-2011, 09:59 PM
mac_bolan00 mac_bolan00 is offline
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humpback whale, according to one docu on tv. teams of hump backs shadow a school of sardines or mackerel and they herd the fish into a bunch by swimming under them and releasing bubbles (like a purse net but MUCH MUCH MORE EFFICIENT!) when they've been herded tightly together, the whales punch through the pack from underneath and gulp more than a tonne at a time.

the narrator said no bigger predation exists besides man's.
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  #19  
Old 04-07-2011, 11:42 PM
Omniscient Omniscient is offline
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I'm gonna guess you mean the orca or sperm whale.
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  #20  
Old 04-08-2011, 12:02 AM
Darryl Lict Darryl Lict is offline
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A whale shark eats mostly plankton so it might beat a blue whale, since krill is a lot larger than plankton.
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  #21  
Old 04-08-2011, 12:14 AM
Stoid Stoid is offline
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WAH! I want the highest kill rate for predators that kill ONE animal at a time...
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  #22  
Old 04-08-2011, 12:20 AM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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In terms of actual mega-vertebrate predators ( i.e. excluding things like shrews ), Cape Hunting Dogs have been cited at an 80-90% success rate. If not the winner I suspect they're at least competitive. Unlike, say, the very widely distributed wolf, they have much more restricted range in what I suspect is a more consistently game-rich environment. And as far as I've ever read they are more efficient than any of their local competitors ( though they can of course be muscled off their kills ).
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  #23  
Old 04-08-2011, 01:10 AM
Autolycus Autolycus is offline
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Bears! Giant, marauding, godless killing machines...
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  #24  
Old 04-08-2011, 04:16 AM
Alka Seltzer Alka Seltzer is offline
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Tortoises have a 100% kill rate against lettuce.
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  #25  
Old 04-08-2011, 04:32 AM
Blake Blake is offline
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Originally Posted by Stoid View Post
WAH! I want the highest kill rate for predators that kill ONE animal at a time...
There is still a major definitional problem.

If a bat goes out and darts around catching insects one after the other, does that count as eating one animal at a time? After all I'm sure bats often dart after insects that get away.

So if a otter goes and grabs a clam and brings it to shore and eats it, then goes and grabs another does that count as a two successful kills?

If so then then how about a walrus that eats fifty clams, one after the other, in about 5 minutes. Does that count as fifty successful kills?

If so then the walrus will have the best kill ratio, about 99% I imagine.

And if the walrus is not allowed, why isn't it allowed?
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  #26  
Old 04-08-2011, 06:44 AM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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Tortoises have a 100% kill rate against lettuce.
I dunno....I had some lettuce in mexico that put up quite a fight.
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  #27  
Old 04-08-2011, 07:53 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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We have herons which stand in our shallows & snap up 4-6" fish. Very rarely do I see a heron miss. It often stands there for several minutes before striking, but once it makes its move, the fish is almost always lunch.

Blake: I see your point about bats & insects, but what percentage of attempts by a particular bat to snag a particular bug succeed? A few, most, almost all? I certainly have no clue.
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  #28  
Old 04-08-2011, 09:57 AM
Blake Blake is offline
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Blake: I see your point about bats & insects, but what percentage of attempts by a particular bat to snag a particular bug succeed? A few, most, almost all? I certainly have no clue.
Well that makes two of us.

And since there are hundreds of species of bat that feed on everything from horses to other bats to spiders to fish to earthworms it's probably not even a sensible question.
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  #29  
Old 04-08-2011, 11:34 AM
Stoid Stoid is offline
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Originally Posted by Tamerlane View Post
In terms of actual mega-vertebrate predators ( i.e. excluding things like shrews ), Cape Hunting Dogs have been cited at an 80-90% success rate. If not the winner I suspect they're at least competitive. Unlike, say, the very widely distributed wolf, they have much more restricted range in what I suspect is a more consistently game-rich environment. And as far as I've ever read they are more efficient than any of their local competitors ( though they can of course be muscled off their kills ).

Thank you very much! That's the answer I was looking for (and it appears I had retained the lion figure accurately, it was reported as 30% in that article.) But more than that, thank you because I read that whole article and learned a great deal about that species that I didn't know and found extremely interesting. They are pretty awesome in many respects, not least the fact that they care for their old and sick.

Very cool.
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  #30  
Old 04-08-2011, 12:59 PM
Gedd Gedd is offline
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Originally Posted by Punoqllads View Post
Badass? Honey badger. Don't let the name fool you. It gets the name from the nonchalance with which it rips open beehives, munching on the larvae as the hive's defenders sting it in vain.
Holy cow, that thing is scary! It seems to be an opportunistic hunter, as in "Hey, I'm hungry. I think I'll eat that snake/cow/lion, etc."
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  #31  
Old 04-08-2011, 01:14 PM
YogSosoth YogSosoth is offline
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Originally Posted by Satchmo View Post
Praying Mantis: if you see them, they're not moving. Except when they're grabbing food. It's said if they achieved the weight of frogs, there wouldn't be any larger creatures.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Praying_mantis
I've always thought mantises were awesome and that's a badass saying, but what do they actually do? They have 2 crooked arms and as far as I know, they don't sting nor do they have poisons. Why makes them dangerous?
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  #32  
Old 04-08-2011, 01:39 PM
G0sp3l G0sp3l is offline
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Originally Posted by Punoqllads View Post
Badass? Honey badger. Don't let the name fool you. It gets the name from the nonchalance with which it rips open beehives, munching on the larvae as the hive's defenders sting it in vain.
It's like a tiny ball of awesome!!!
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  #33  
Old 04-08-2011, 01:43 PM
Rachellelogram Rachellelogram is offline
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Holy crap, that honey badger page was awesome. It rips the testicles off lions! And probably humans too!
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  #34  
Old 04-08-2011, 02:27 PM
gazpacho gazpacho is offline
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Holy crap, that honey badger page was awesome. It rips the testicles off lions! And probably humans too!
Now we know the true reason that humans evolved to stand upright.
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  #35  
Old 04-08-2011, 03:58 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Originally Posted by LSLGuy View Post
I see your point about bats & insects, but what percentage of attempts by a particular bat to snag a particular bug succeed? A few, most, almost all? I certainly have no clue.
Last summer I was watching a firefly over our front lawn, when out of the dusk flew a dark, bat-like shape and the firefly blinked out and was gone. Don't know if it was representative, but your post reminded me of it.
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  #36  
Old 04-08-2011, 04:25 PM
Stoid Stoid is offline
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That honey badger essay was very funny, and the critter really is a badass motherfucker.
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  #37  
Old 04-09-2011, 11:38 AM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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I've heard that cougars have an incredibly high kill percentage, but I'm not able to find a cite. Does anyone have any knowledge of that?
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  #38  
Old 04-09-2011, 12:49 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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Originally Posted by Cat Whisperer View Post
I've heard that cougars have an incredibly high kill percentage, but I'm not able to find a cite. Does anyone have any knowledge of that?
There's one in here ( weird the things you find on the internet ).
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  #39  
Old 04-09-2011, 01:01 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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What was the cougar success rate in that video, 85%? That's not bad at all.
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  #40  
Old 04-09-2011, 10:38 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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I'm with Blake: unless you exclude predation on immobile or very slow creatures, the winner is almost certainly going to be a creature that eats bivalves or urchins or snails or the like. If you count starfish, for example, you may be able to find a species that moves slowly over to an immobile prey species and bores a hole through the shell nearly 100% of the time.
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  #41  
Old 04-09-2011, 10:56 PM
notfrommensa notfrommensa is offline
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This critter might have the highest failure rate for predators.
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  #42  
Old 04-10-2011, 01:46 AM
Stoid Stoid is offline
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There's one in here ( weird the things you find on the internet ).

Good ol' Lester is pretty invested there, ain't he?
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  #43  
Old 04-10-2011, 03:52 AM
Little Audie O'Dynamite Little Audie O'Dynamite is offline
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What about constrictor snakes (e.g. boas, pythons, anacondas)? When they're ready to eat they can't afford to waste energy on misses, so they mostly wait until a sure thing comes along. That has to result in a pretty high success rate.
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Old 04-10-2011, 06:44 AM
xoferew xoferew is offline
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Oh great, I have a huge stack of reports to write, and I spent nearly two hours poking around on that honey badger site. Yikes! My kill rate for reports is stalled at 10%.

There are birds that can catch fish but also harass other birds and make them regurgitate the fish they caught. Maybe they could be said to have a high ratio because they make others do the predation work and even some of the digestion work. Five kills in zero attempts! Hm, maybe that doesn't count.
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  #45  
Old 04-10-2011, 07:52 AM
Acid Lamp Acid Lamp is offline
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Pit vipers. Like the aforementioned constrictors they are ambush predators that can wait for perfect conditions. Having worked with many of them over several years I can say that in a captive environment they miss extremely rarely. I would confidently place the attempt/kill rate in the high 90's at a minimum. If things aren't right they simply don't strike.
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  #46  
Old 04-10-2011, 02:56 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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I just thought I'd nominate web-weaving spiders. As a kid, I spent many an afternoon catching flying insects and releasing them into webs. Very occasionally, the spider ran over to wrap something up and had it fight loose, but probably 95% of the time anything caught on the web was toast.

On the other hand, anything eating clams and urchins will still probably beat that record.

Also, the "besides us" qualification of the original question seems pointless to me. Slaughter houses have a pretty good kill rate, but people who are actually hunting or fishing for prey aren't much better than the lions.
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  #47  
Old 04-12-2011, 03:03 AM
mac_bolan00 mac_bolan00 is offline
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if it's mammal vs. reptile, i'd say the mongoose has a close-to-100% kill rate. if it's mammal vs. mammal, nothing beats a hungry cat pouncing on a mouse. some cats that aren't that hungry playfully pounce on rats but let them go.
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