In this article, we will look at 17 animals with no natural predators; these include carnivores, herbivores, marine animals and birds.
An animal with no natural enemies is known as an apex predator. Apex predators are at the top of the food chain in their ecosystem.
Not all animals without predators are carnivores though herbivores with no natural predators include elephants, rhinos and hippos.
By looking at an adult hippo, you would think they would make a tasty meal for a lion pride or hyena clan. So why don’t they have any natural predators? They may appear fat and slow animals, but they only have a small layer of fat covering their body. The rest of their 1,500 kg (3,307 lbs) body is mostly muscle. When they charge with their mouth open bearing their 40 cm (15.8 in) canines, it’s enough to scare off the bravest of lions. With a bite force of 1,800 psi and having a reputation for being one of the most aggressive animals in the world, other animals soon learn its best to avoid them.
2. Komodo Dragon
Komodo dragons are giant lizards only found on four islands in Indonesia: Flores, Rinca, Gili Motang and Komodo. They prey on any animal they see, from rodents to buffalos and even people. They also consume a large amount of carrion. Komodo dragons stalk their prey before launching their attack with razor-sharp teeth and claws. They can eat nearly their entire body weight in one sitting. After doing this, they won’t need to feed again for a few weeks.
3. Saltwater Crocodile
The saltwater crocodile inhabits a wide range from northern Australia to the scattered islands in Micronesia and Southeast Asia. They are the largest living reptile, with the biggest males growing up to 6.3 m (20.6 ft) long and weighing over 1,200 kg (2,645 lbs). As their name suggests, they can survive living in saltwater due to having a gland on their tongue that can rid them of excess sodium. All crocodiles have this feature, but only the saltwater crocodile frequently swims long distances at sea. They can spend weeks out at sea looking for land.
Orcas, also known as killer whales, live in all of the world’s oceans and are the largest member of the dolphin family. They live in family groups known as pods that contain 5 – 30 whales led by an older and experienced female who passes down her knowledge to the younger generations. They work as a team when hunting, deploying different tactics depending on what they are hunting. It is no surprise then that they have earned the nickname “the wolves of the sea” they feed on fish, seabirds, seals and whales.
5. Electric Eel
No animal would mess with the electric eel. If they did, they would be in for a big shock! The electric eel can emit low and high electrical charges, with their most powerful shock able to deliver 860 volts! They can produce an electrical current not just for attack and defence but also for detecting prey, navigation in murky water and communication. Electric eels may have the word eel in their name but are, in fact, members of the Gymnotiformes order or also called knifefish, on account of their body shape.
6. Polar Bear
The polar bear is the apex predator of the Arctic Circle. They are the largest bear species, with males weighing up to 700 kg (1,543 lbs). They hunt seals on sea ice using one of three methods. Its most common method is to find a seal’s breathing hole and wait patiently in silence for the seal to appear. When the seal comes up for air, the polar bear grabs it with its massive paws and pulls it out. The second hunting method is to stalk seals resting on the seal ice. It creeps up behind the seal within 10 – 15 m (32 – 49 ft) before charging to attack. Lastly, they will raid a female seal’s birth lair for her pups.
7. African Elephant
African elephants are the largest living land animal on earth, easily weighing over 2,500 kg (5,500 lbs). And they are a force to be reckoned with when they are sporting tusks that can be between 1.5 – 2.5 m (5 – 8 ft) long. They are herd animals with females living together with their young led by a matriarch. Males come together to form bachelor groups.
8. Whale Shark
Whale sharks are slow-moving non-aggressive animals. That would make them an easy target for predators. But due to their large size, able to grow over 14 m (46 ft) long, they have no natural predators. They are filter feeders feeding on tiny animals like plankton, krill, copepods and fish eggs. Their teeth serve no purpose in eating. When they feed, they either suck in water and food by opening and closing their mouth or swimming forwards and gulping in water. The excess water is ejected through their gills.
9. Siberian Tiger
The Siberian tiger is the apex predator of eastern Russia and northeastern China. They are the largest and most powerful big cats, the most prominent males weighing up to 300 kg (660 lbs). They eat a varied diet of deer, moose, wild boar, long-tailed goral and small mammals like rabbits. They even have the strength to tackle brown and Asiatic black bears larger than themselves. They do this by ambushing the bear from behind them, jumping on it, grabbing its head by its paws and biting down on its spinal column.
10. Bald Eagle
The bald eagle is a predatory bird that is very opportunistic, with more than 400 animal species that it is known to prey upon, but fish still makes up 50% of its diet. They have been seen attacking and killing Canada geese in mid-air. They are found across the whole of North America and northern Mexico. Even though they are called bald eagles, they aren’t actually bald. The term bald was an old way of saying “white-headed”.
11. White Rhino
The white rhino is the third herbivore on this list, with no natural predators. This would be because of their colossal size. If that wasn’t enough to scare predators away, they are equipped with two horns, the most significant growth as long as 1.5 m (5 ft). They have thick and muscular bodies and won’t hesitate to charge when they feel threatened. When they are not trying to gore another animal, they are peaceful creatures that can be found grazing on grass or wallowing in mud.
12. Grizzly Bear
The grizzly bear is a subspecies of brown bear that inhabits North America. They are omnivores with dirt made up of animals, plants and berries. They will prey on sick or young elk, moose, caribou, white-tailed deer and bison when they can. They can efficiently dispatch their prey with a bite force of 1,160 psi. Grizzlies won’t turn down any free carrion, will fight a pack of wolves for their kill, and will be successful half of the time.
The jaguar is South America’s apex predator and the third-largest cat in the world. They have the most potent bite force of any big cat, with a bite of 1,500 psi, which is strong enough to break a turtle’s shell. Unlike other big cats, jaguars kill their prey by directly biting the skull and piercing the brain. They stalk and ambush their prey from behind as they are built for brute force and can not chase prey over long distances.
14. Great Horned Owl
The great horned owl is found in both North and South America. They are large birds with an average weight being 1,400g (3 lbs). They primarily feed on rabbits, hares, rats, mice and voles. It will hunt any prey smaller than itself, from medium-sized mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles. Its talons are substantially stronger than a human’s fist-crushing power. They can crush an animal with a force of 300 psi.
Pandas are found only in mountain forests of southwest China. Despite being classed as a carnivore, their diet is 99% bamboo. Adults are too large and robust for any predators to tackle. Pandas are the only bear with a scent gland located underneath their tail. When they mark their territory, they let other pandas know through their scent what age, sex, fertility and general health are.
16. American Alligator
The American alligator is the apex predator of swamps and waterways along the southeast of North America. They will eat mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish anything smaller than them they consider to be prey. Their teeth are designed for gripping prey, not for ripping or chewing food, so they swallow stones that help grind up the food in their gizzard. They are a keystone species during the dry season. The gator holes they have dug provide water for aquatic animals. Being apex predators, they keep animal populations under control, and their young are food for other animals.
Like the American alligator, the lion is Africa’s apex predator and a keystone species. They help keep herbivore numbers under control, like the wildebeest and zebra. This makes sure there is enough food for every animal. The lions are the most sociable of all the big cats. They live in family groups called prides. A pride can have 15 – 30 members consisting of 2 – 3 adult males, 4 – 12 lionesses, and they’re young. Females usually stay within the pride when the young males come of age. The adult males force them out.