|Some animals are pack hunters, which means they’ll work with others to hunt down prey. Other animals are considered solitary hunters, which means they work alone. Animals like wolves, lions, and orcas are pack hunters.1 Cheetahs, and in fact, most cats except for lions, are solitary hunters.
Pack hunters may have an advantage over solitary hunters because they tend to be able to have more success when hunting prey, and they can take down bigger prey.1
For example, sevengill sharks can take down larger and quicker prey when they hunt as a group instead of on their own. Meanwhile, lions in a pride can take down cape buffalo together, but a solitary lion won’t attempt the same thing because it can’t do it on its own.1
Those who work together to take down prey communicate to increase efficiency. Take wolves for example, within a pack, wolves have different roles when hunting. Some may chase down the prey, while others will distract it, and others will take the prey down from behind.2 Orcas will communicate with each other through whistling or clicking and will herd their prey or even knock them off floating ice to get to them.3
Solitary animals have different tactics to take down their prey. Solitary hunters tend to rely on the element of surprise with lots of speed and force to take down their prey.2 Cheetahs will trip their prey and bite down on the neck. Meanwhile, coyotes do something called mousing. They’ll jump into the air and pounce and pin their prey down.3
There are different advantages and disadvantages when it comes to hunting on one’s own or with a group. While pack hunters can take down larger prey, they tend to not be as strong or big as solitary hunters. For example, bears and mountain lions are larger than wolves and are able to deliver more lethal blows to their prey.2
Did you catch our blog on the world’s largest carnivores? Read it here!