The Nature of Predators

As the ecosystems of the Northern Hemisphere experience a shift from the warmer months to the colder months, predators gain an advantage.  Of course, predatory species have some traits that offer an advantage throughout the year.  Among the more obvious are anatomic features that aid in grasping prey such as long tongues, powerful jaws, sharp teeth, lethal venom and deadly pincers or claws.

Keen senses are certainly among the most important characteristics of predators.  Highly developed eyesight is shared by hunters such as mantids, dragonflies, spiders, lizards, raptors, seabirds, flycatchers and felines.  Sharks, snakes, bears and canines are renowned for their sense of "smell" while excellent hearing (including the use of echolocation) aids predation by owls, bats, fox and dolphins.

Finally, though predators are not always as large or as powerful as their prey, they are generally more intelligent.  This trait is vital when it comes to cooperative hunting, stalking and the use of tools to catch prey.  Wolves, wild dogs, lions, dolphins, whales, sea lions, corvids (jays, crows, ravens) and primates (including humans) are certainly included in this category.