Do adult prey animals ever kill the predators of their offspring for "revenge"?

Does a large and powerful mother animal, like an elephant, giraffe, or rhinoceros ever go after and attempt to kill the lion or hyena that killed its baby?

It seems to me that genes for behavior like this could be evolutionarily advantageous because it might make predators less likely to go after babies of this species in the future.

I couldn’t find a cite, but I remember reading about something similar, in which prey animals killed leopard cubs when their mother was absent.

The Mafia Hypothesis comes close, in which Cuckoos and other brood parasites are thought to destroy the nests and nestlings of their hosts that refuse to shelter their own eggs. So technically they are getting revenge on someone who killed their offspring. It’s just it wasn’t a predator that did it, it was someone they were trying to parasitize on.

I don’t know anything about “revenge” for an actual loss, but a program I saw on dinosaurs hypothesized that prey dinosaurs might have routinely tried to kill the young of predator dinosaurs when they happened to get the chance, presumably to remove an “impending” predator from the environment before he or she became a major threat. The program asserted that scientists thought dinos might have done so “because modern prey animals do so.”

So that implies that modern prey animals are known to pre-emptively kill the young of their predator species if they find them vulnerable, but I have no idea how prevalent that idea is among, say, behaviorists (as opposed to paleontologists).

African/Cape buffalo are known for getting “revenge” if wounded or attacked by hunters or animal predators. I’m not 100% sure if they attempt to get revenge for the deaths of conspecifics, though.

Not quite what you’re looking for but I’ve heard that male lions who chase off or kill the male protector of a pride will then kill all of the ex-protector’s cubs and mate with the lionesses to produce a new pride.

Yes, but that’s not “revenge” per se on the previous lion - it’s a way to get nursing females to go back into heat.

If you are going to prey on (or even go near) a baby elephant, you better make sure that none of its adult relatives are nearby. No land predator stands a chance against an adult elephant, much less the whole herd. Except maybe the deadly black mamba!

Or a honey badger.

I think there is a problem with your idea. Compare two prey animals. One has the “vengeful rhino” allele, and the other doesn’t. How does the presence of the vengeful rhino allele make the rhino that has it more likely to have reproductive success? Seems as if it would expose her to more risks, if anything. Any fear it causes on the part of predators will also help the rhino with the normal allele. So, what is going to make that vengeful rhino allele increase in frequency?

Seems as if you have a “for the good of the species” sort of argument going, which (as opposed to “for the good of the individual” behaviors, tend not to work.

Large herbivores such as giraffes or elephants have been known to either maim or kill predators while defending their offspring. It’s not beyond possibility that such a large animal might deliver a killing blow after their offspring is dead but before the predators run off. I have never heard of a deliberate stalking of said predators after the fact.

A vengeful rhino/hippo/elephant might actually work though, as none of them seem to suffer predation as adults. Other than by humans.

But again, where is the advantage that would cause the vengeful allele to have more success than the nonvengeful alternative?

Once saw a footage. A warthog killed a fawn for no apparent reason. The doe inspected her dead offspring and then attacked the hog.

Revenge is a human concept. What animals do is defend themselves, their progeny or their herd or group. Killing a predatory animal or its progeny when the opportunity presents itself is simply an opportunistic natural behavior by the prey animal to eradicate predators and so increase the odds that its genes will survive, either through itself or its young, i.e. the animal equivalent of “It’s them or us.”

Your question is based on the single allele, simple dominant-recessive, no environmental trigger, individual benefit model used to teach us the basis of genetics.

Even if there were a single simple recessive/dominant allele, the other member of the subpopulation with only one non-expressed revenge-positive allele would have the opportunity to produce additional off-spring, increase the incidence of R+, and the likelihood of a 2R+ individual, who scare off predators.

If there were a single allele, but expression was - I forget the term - gradual? The 2 R+ female could be an environmental trigger to the 1 R+ females.

If there were two genes associated with the Revenge Trait, one might also be associated with early sexual maturity, and the other a lower metabolism, …

Even a deer will sometimes kill a young coyote. Animals know who their enemies are and if they think they can kill them without being injured they will. I don’t believe they will expend a lot of energy chasing a predator down but when the opportunity presents itself many will take full advantage.

Perhaps I’m not following you. I have made no assumptions as to whether the allele is simple dominant recessive, one or many alleles, etc. My point was that “good for the species” explanations of behavior tend not to hold up on closer scrutiny and that seemed to be the OP’s basis for this hypothetical situation. If this behavior came about from some type of genetic mutation, what would be the advantage to having that gene to an individual? If there is no advantage, why would it increase in frequency?

The simplest possibility is that the trait is does NOT create a disadvantage, and can be spread throughout the group. Or it could be related to an advantageous trait.

However, it is unlikely in in complex animals that a single mutation immediately leads to a change in phenotype with a significant change in the opportunity to produce off-spring. (I suspect, although I could be wrong, that a change in the likelihood of survival of the offspring is somewhat more likely.)

It is more likely that a mutation has no effect on breeding or survival for the individual; it has no significant effect and spreads throughout the sub-population. In time, either the existence of 2R+ individuals, or the genes interaction with another trait to create R+O+ individuals, will stimulate behavior with an effect on the prevalence of the gene in the population.

In either case, it is not a matter of one individual with Super Gene suddenly overwhelming the reproductive capacity of the group to spread the gene throughout it. That could be a disaster. Diversity is incredibly important for the survival of the group, because the environment, including the group itself, is constantly changing.

Those are both possibilities for how a trait that is not advantageous can spread, but that is not what the OP is asking. The question wasn’t “what are the ways a genetic trait that is not useful can spread?”; the OP is suggesting that the revenge behavior is a USEFUL trait, is therefore likely to have evolved, and is now looking for examples in animal behavior that would support this. The OP is not looking for genetic drift explanations; it is suggesting that this is a behavior that could be selected for.

I suggest that this sort of behavior would only be useful in a group selection sort of way, and that such explanations for natural selection have tended to be discredited.

I also don’t see how this behavior would not be disadvantageous to the individual. At the very least, they are exerting energy in their attempts for revenge, and most likely putting themselves at risk of injury.