Wild Animals/Animals


Good day
With reference to animals, why are some animals like lions, tigers and jaguars so carnivorous and predators while certain other animals like cows, dears and others the quite the opposite.
What causes some animals to be predators and meat eaters while others prey and non meat eaters.
What does it take to tame a lion to the point that it become a peaceful, non predator, non meat eating animal -for example alter environment.
Also under different environmental conditions can animals like dears and cows become predators /carnivores like the lion.
Can you provide me any insights into this query.

Sunil Mahabir

Dear Sunil

Thank you for your question. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

Different animals are adapted to different lifestyles. If there are many species in an area, they avoid competing with each other by having different diets. Animals such as cows and deer feed mainly on plants and have teeth adapted to nip off leaves or blades of grass and grind them down before swallowing. Animals such as big cats have sharper teeth to bite into flesh and shear the flesh before swallowing it. The stomachs and intestines of cows are more complicated than those of big cats, as it takes more time to get nutrition out of plant food rather than out of flesh.

If a lion were fed a non-meat diet, it wouldn't be able to digest plant food in the same way that a cow does and wouldn't have as nutritious a diet as a meat-eating lion. While some people have tried to train big cats (see http://technicpack.wikia.com/wiki/Big_cats), there is no guarantee that a big cat will always be peaceful. There are several cases where tigers have killed thei keepers.

Some plant-eating animals can eat flesh. For example, deer may eat birds (see http://news.nationalgeographic.co.uk/news/2003/08/0825_030825_carnivorousdeer.ht and http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/deerpred/).

Several people have been upset about the idea of animals eating other animals. If there were no predators, there would be a difficult balance between plants and herbivores - the herbivores could eat out the supply of plants and many would starve to death. Predators enable there to be a balance between different forms of life, so there is enough plant food to supply populations of herbivores and there are enough herbivores to enable predators to survive. Please see http://www.biologycorner.com/worksheets/predator_prey_graphing.html for an example of this.

I hope this helps

All the best


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Jonathan Wright


I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.


I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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