Aggressiveness of Wild Animals Toward Humans
The reasons for possible aggression of wild animals toward humans
As a rule, in the modern world, judgments about the relationship between predatory wild animals and humans lie in the realm of myths and prejudices. This is due to the fact that most people live outside of nature and have a weak theoretical and practical base in this matter. In society, such knowledge is not a necessity. Even most hunters do not perceive the wilderness environment as natural for their habitat.
Let us consider the main factors of aggression of wild animals toward human individuals. 1) Predator species. Different species have different attitudes toward both coexisting next to humans and perceiving them as a source of food or competition from them. Often the degree of aggression of the species, as such, depends on the size of the predator.
2) The position in the food chain of a particular predator, applicable specifically to a certain area. Such a position determines the general behavioral traits of the species living in certain areas or in different regions. Examples are grizzly bears and brown bears, as well as different lion populations.
3) Social status of an individual if predators live together – pack, pride, colony, etc. In wolves, the leader will almost always show more aggression, in dogs as well. In communities with a developed hierarchical system, healthy individuals attack more often than singles. Herding always increases the degree of aggression, although it may be due to self-defense.
4) Circumstances. Here we can distinguish the protection of offspring; fear and absence, from the predator’s point of view, of ways to retreat.
5) Hunger. If there is no other source of food, many predators are more or less likely to attack humans.
6) Illness. This can be an injury or rabies, or simply old age.
7) Self Defense. The predator may decide, objectively or subjectively, that the individual is hunting him.
8) Character of the individual. Every animal has its own character, which also imposes its own behavior. Also, animals differ in experience and thinking, even within the same species. This can be seen well in dogs.
All factors can complement each other.
Examples: – A solitary rat will not attack a human, but a hungry pack will easily maul an adult, let alone a child. – Wolves are more dangerous in a pack in winter than single individuals in summer. – lionesses are more dangerous and indiscriminate when hunting in a pride than when hunting alone. – Solitary lions are more dangerous than the lion-leaders of a Pride, in case one does not hunt that Pride.
There are predators that do not attack humans, except for diseases like rabies or cases of self-defense. An example is bobcats and cheetahs.
There are predators that attack humans in almost any case in the wild – sharks, crocodiles, komodo varanas.
There is a marked tendency for people to exaggerate the danger from wild animals. In most cases, people provoke animals to attack themselves.
Also, if a man in the woods is weak or sick, the likelihood of a predator attacking him increases many times. This is one of the tools of evolution, natural selection. A dying man may be attacked by any predator if he thinks that so much meat will justify the effort and will not harm him.
What does “a predator” mean?
In terms of biology, predation is a broad concept. It most often refers to a trophic relationship between organisms in which one of them (the predator) attacks another (the prey) and feeds on its body parts. The act of killing the victim is present here.
In addition to multicellular animals, some species of fungi and plants can also act as predators. In addition, intraspecies predation should be considered the eating of individuals of one’s own species (cannibalism).
Predators are divided into ambush hunters (those who wait for their victims) and stalkers. Collective forms of hunting are less common, for example, in lions and wolves.
There is always a connection between specific predator species and their prey. For example, the population size of predators affects the population size of their victims and vice versa. In the process of co-evolution, predators and prey adapt to each other and a dynamic equilibrium in the predator-prey system is achieved. Predators develop and develop means of detection and attack, while victims develop means of concealment and protection. Therefore, the greatest harm to victims can be caused by predators that are new to them and with which they have not yet engaged in an arms race.
In all this, there are also positive processes for the populations. For example, predators cull inferior individuals among their victims, thus being an important factor in regulating their numbers. This explains why attacks are so rare in the deep taiga teeming with beasts – humans lie outside the food chain of hunting animals. That is, in most cases, the circumstances mentioned above are necessary for an attack.