Top Seven Elephant Predators

Many people ask, Who are the elephant predators? The reason such a question comes to mind is the huge size and weight of elephants. Elephants are the largest land mammals. The average weight of an adult elephant is 5500 to 6800 kg, and the average height is about ten and a half feet.

There is no animal on land larger and heavier than the elephant. So many people want to know if any other animal can hunt such a big animal or who are the main predators of elephant? In today’s post, we will discuss about seven elephant predators, those are small in size but true elephant hunters, and eaters.

Elephant Predators

All carnivores eat elephant meat, but not all carnivores hunt elephants. It is impossible for any animal to hunt an adult elephant, because of elephants huge size and also elephants live in herd. When one elephant in the herd is injured, all the other elephants rush to help. Therefore, it is not possible for any single animal to hunt an adult elephant from the herd.

But there is a saying, “Many a little makes a mackle.” It means that if ten people work together, the work becomes much easier. There are some carnivore animals in the animal world that hunt in groups. These animals are real elephant hunters and eaters. The top seven real elephant hunters and eaters names are-

  1. Lions
  2. African Wild Dogs
  3. Hyenas
  4. Crocodiles
  5. Human
  6. Indian Tiger
  7. Snake

01. Lions

If you list the name of a real elephant predators, the name of the lion will come first. The lion is called the king of the forest. So it is possible for the king to hunt an elephant. Lions live in pride and hunt in group, where 2–15 female elephants can participate in a successful hunt. Think, if 10-12 lionesses attacked an elephant together. No matter how strong the elephant is, it will be defeated by a group of lionesses.

Lion Kills Elephant
Lion trying to hunt a young elephant.

However, lions rarely attack adult elephants. Because most of time elephants live in herd. And it is almost impossible to attack and hunt an elephant from a herd of elephants. So, lions target baby elephants in a herd of elephants. Baby elephants are smaller and weaker in size and strength than adult elephants. As a result, a group of lions can easily prey on a baby or young elephant.

If the baby elephant is between its mother and other members of the family, the lions attack from all sides and throw the herd into confusion. As a result, the baby elephant is separated from the mother elephant and also the herd. And on this occasion, the group of lions kills and eats the baby elephant.

This method of hunting is very difficult and troublesome for lions. Lions know well that elephants are most powerful prey. So lions always avoid hunting elephants. However, when there is a lack of food, lions attack elephants for food. As the saying goes, “Necessity knows no law “. That’s why lions attack elephants and kill them for food. After a successful hunt, the whole pride eats the elephant’s meat.

02. African Wild Dogs

The second name on the list of elephant predators will be the African wild dog. These dogs are very brave, strong, and social animals. They attack prey in groups and drag the prey to the kill. Packed African wild dogs are so fierce that all animals in the jungle fear them.

They can attack any animal for hunting. However, most of the time they hunt small animals like warthogs, impalas, rabbits, antelope, etc. In case of large animals such as buffaloes, wildebeests, and elephants, they attack the newborn baby or young of these animals.

Elephants Predators Wild dog
A pack of wild dogs in Africa is attacking an elephant

Wild dogs are much smaller than elephants, but they are very brave. And because of this courage, they attack elephants for hunting. Although most of the time they fail. Because they are absolutely insignificant to the size and strength of elephants.

African wild dogs cannot hunt large elephants, but they can hunt newborn elephants. They target newborn and baby elephants. A pack of wild dogs attacked from all sides and separated the mother elephant from her cubs. As a result, the young and baby elephants got confused and turned into prey for wild dogs.

03. Hyenas

Hyenas are always experts at robbing other prey. Most of the time, hyenas eat other hunters’ leftovers. Every hunt has the potential to be infected. So, hyenas prefer to keep themselves away from the hard work of hunting.

Often, hyenas rob someone else’s prey or eat leftovers from someone else’s prey. However, sometimes they directly participate in the hunt without depending on the prey of others.

Elephants Predators, Hyena
A group of spotted hyenas kill a baby elephant and eat its flesh.

African Spotted Hyenas are fierce hunters. They hunt in groups for large prey. Hyenas do not try to hunt large elephants. But when the pregnant elephant gives birth, they observe it from a distance. If they get a chance, they try to hunt the newborn baby elephants, and sometimes they succeed in hunting the baby elephants. They also target weak and sick baby elephants in herds. Such elephants are ideal prey for hyenas.

04. Crocodile

Crocodiles spend most of their time in the water, and elephants spend most of their time on land. So the chances of meeting elephants with crocodiles are less. Also, because crocodiles are reptiles, and elephants are mammals, hunting elephants by crocodiles is almost impossible.

Elephant Predators, Crocodile
A crocodile mistakenly bit the mother elephant’s trunk. Although his target was to attack the baby elephant. (Image Source Nature and Wild Life TV)

Even then, crocodiles are listed as elephant predators. Because when the elephants come to the river bank to drink water, the crocodiles bite the baby elephants’ trunks and drag them into the water. However, hunting elephants with this technique is almost impossible and risks to death. Because a baby or young elephants also heavy and powerful prey.

Sometimes crocodiles accidentally bite the trunk of an adult elephant. The elephant got angry and killed the crocodile by its foot.

05. Indian Tiger

There are no Indian tigers in Africa because Indian tigers are native to Asia. So, there is no chance of an African elephant being attacked by a Bengal tiger, but there is a possibility of an Asian elephant being attacked by a tiger.

However, tigers do not usually hunt elephants. Because the tiger is a solitary animal. And hunting an elephant alone is almost impossible for a tiger. But it is quite easy for a full-grown tiger to hunt a baby elephant.

Although there is no exact data on tigers have killed how many baby elephants in the wild environment. There are records of two adult elephants being killed by tigers in India.

In 2011 and 2014, Indian tigers killed two adult elephants in Kaziranga National Park, India.

06. Humans

Humans are the biggest predators of elephants. People poach most elephants every year. Humans hunt elephants mainly for two reasons:

a) Elephant Smuggling

b) Elephant-human conflict

Elephant Smuggling

Elephants ivory is famous for making fine furniture, figurines, and jewelry since ancient times. As a result, the price and demand for ivory are constantly increasing. Currently, the buying and selling of ivory is prohibited. But because of the high prices, poachers are constantly killing elephants to collect their ivory.

Ivory

According to a study, every year, approximately 500 metric tons of poached ivory are smuggled from Africa to countries around the world. According to a report by Time for Kids, 30,000 elephants were illegally killed across Africa in 2012. As many as one million elephants were killed for their tusks in the 1980s because of the ivory trade.

Elephant-human conflict

Elephants are usually shy in nature. So they don’t come near human settlements. They feel more comfortable staying behind the trees in the forest. Due to increasing human growth, deforestation is constantly taking place, thereby reducing the amount of elephant habitat. At the same time, there is a shortage of food for elephants because of deforestation and conversion of agricultural land. As a result, in recent years, Asian elephants have come out of the forest and closer to human habitations. Due to a lack of food, they attacked human crops.

Elephant-human conflict

Farmers are making various kinds of traps to protect themselves and their crops from elephant attacks. That’s why many of the elephants die each year. Elephants are very emotional animals. As a result, when one elephant in the herd dies, the rest become aggressive and attack humans. Humans kill elephants in self-defense. As a result, the conflict between elephants and humans is constantly increasing.

In the last 50 years, more than half of Asian elephants have become extinct because of various human-caused causes.

Snakes

Large snakes like pythons or anacondas do not hunt elephants. Small snakes also do not hunt elephants for food. However, small venomous snakes in Africa can kill elephants. Snakes do not attack elephants primarily to kill them. But if attacked or scared, they bite the elephant. As a result of poisoning, elephants can die.

Conclusion

Wildness in the forest is beautiful. Wild carnivores will hunt other animals for their food is the rule of the forest. But poaching of elephants by humans is completely illegal. Therefore poaching of elephants and illegal trade in elephant parts should be strictly suppressed.

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