Crocodile vs. Tiger



Interesting report on relations between two top predators. In Africa, the situation is similar: lions often prey on Nile crocodiles, but the reverse seems to be rare. Thanks to Croconut for the news tip.

Fifteen-foot Bengali crocodile claims king of jungle title from tiger - Telegraph:

"A post-mortem examination of the carcass of an eight-year-old male tiger discovered by rangers on the banks of a jungle river on Tuesday has confirmed that he was killed and eaten by a crocodile. The tiger had been attacked as it swam across the river and was killed in what they believed had been a fierce struggle.
Bivash Pandav of the Wildlife Institute of India's Endangered Species Department said attacks by tigers on crocodiles were common – a crocodile was killed recently in Ranthambore tiger reserve. 'However, this is the first time we have heard of an attack by crocodiles on a tiger,' he said."

11 comments:

  1. It's always sad to hear about a tiger's death. Not only are they beautiful animals but so rare these days...
    But crocs have to eat, too, and they are not picky.

    So there are no reports of Nile crocs eating adult lions at all?

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  2. I have the impression there are some reports of that, though I don't have any at hand. I'll put that on my list of stuff to look into.

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  3. Ok cool. :>

    You know, I can´t help but to wonder what would the interactions be like if non-bird theropod dinosaurs coexisted with large predatory mammals today. I'm talking about regular sized theropods, of course, not the truly gigantic ones. Would they avoid each other like crocs and big cats usually do? Or would one dominate over the other?

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  4. That link I posted earlier turns out to be, shall we say, less than authoritative, so I've removed it. The search goes on.

    Interesting question on the therapods. I think we'd see a very different set of species today if the therapods had survived all along. Pressure from competitors exerts a huge influence on the evolution of a species. For example, some biologists think the lion became more social than the other cats because it had to compete with the spotted hyena.

    If therapods and mammalian carnivores were plunged into competion, though, I'd bet on the mammals. The huge carnivorous land birds that lived in North America a few thousand years ago may have been driven extinct by mammals. A bird isn't exactly the same as a velociraptor, but still. Everywhere birds have evolved back toward the bipedal predator model, they have been dominated by mammalian carnivores. Lions eat ostriches, for example. There's a case (I think I included this in Deadly Kingdom) of a lion slaughtering 40 ostriches in a single night.

    But, let's say the dinosaurs are big enough, or have strong enough social structures, that the mammals can't easily prey on them. I imagine they would still be at a disadvantage against egg-thieves, but that design flaw can be solved (and has been, to some extent, by crocodilians that bury their eggs and then guard the nest). Now you might see the dinosaurs having more success, and putting some pressure on the mammals. Maybe this is why mammals took so long to evolve into the big-predator niches--the dinosaurs already had those spots locked up.

    As for crocs vs. dinosaurs--I remember reading about fossils of an Albertosaur that had apparently been eaten by a huge crocodile (crocs in those days got a lot bigger). Could have been a fluke, and it could have been scavenging. My guess is that they preyed on each other, somewhat like modern cats and crocs.

    A few thoughts, for what they're worth.

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  5. Hey! Thanks for the reply. Yeah it is true, there is plenty of evidence both direct and indirect of big crocodiles (or gators) feeding on dinosaurs. Interestingly, remains of a giant croc were found recently with bite marks from a tyrannosaur so yes, they seemingly did eat each other. I guess it all depended on where the encounter took place and how big and hungry the creatures were, just like today.

    About the carnivoran vs theropod question, you're right- for a moment I forgot about terror birds. Some scientists say they went from top predators to scavengers once the large carnivorans, especially cats, arrived to South America- and then, they went extinct.

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  6. I didn't know about the Tyrannosaur find. That's really interesting.

    For what it's worth, I thought of a small-scale example of this kind of fight: supposedly, fighting cocks kill domestic cats. An acquaintance of mine tells me this sometimes goes as far as predation. I'm thinking a rooster and an adult cat are about the same size, but here the bird wins.

    Now I'm wondering about that fight scene in Valley of Gwangi, where the Allosaur kills the elephant. . . .

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  7. Another interesting wrinkle: some of the earliest croc skeletons look a lot like therapods. It may be that dinosaurs didn't really evolve into giant predators until the crocs, for whatever reason, abandoned those niches on land.

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  8. That's very interesting, the rooster thing! They must be nastier and more powerful than they look, because cats, as soft and cuddly as they look, are formidable foes for anything their own size or even somewhat bigger. I heard once about a house cat killing a red-tailed hawk which is a formidable predator itself.

    As for the crocodile-theropod part, it is true that carnivorous dinosaurs didn´t evolve into giants until crocodile-like reptiles (called rauisuchians) went extinct. These croc-cousins had many of the adaptations dinosaurs took advantage of later, including erect legs, blade-like serrated teeth etc. As long as rauisuchians were alive, theropods remained small.
    The most interesting part is that AFTER dinosaurs went extinct, crocodiles kept evolving into land-dwelling, rauisuchian-type predators until very recently! In Australia, a land-dwelling species about the size of a saltwater croc survived up to 40.000 years ago. It may even have encountered and eaten the first aborigines!

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  9. Fascinating! I had no idea about these later croc developments. I'm guessing climate change curtailed their evolution in this direction?

    Cats are tough, no doubt about it. In my experience, a cat always defeats, for example, a similar sized dog, and often a bigger one. Yet they often fall prey to owls and other raptors. I'm surprised to hear about the red-tailed hawk; makes me wonder about the circumstances--for example, did the cat stalk it from cover?

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  10. No, actually I think the cat was attacked by the hawk first- it fought back with all its might and ended up killing his would-be-predator.
    But yeah, its a rare case; I remember a woman who lived in a farm and told us that several of her cats had scars and even missing eyes due to violent encounters with owls.

    As for the crocodiles, it was both climate change and lack of competition; usually, these land-dwelling crocs evolved in places or at times when other large predators were scarce or absent (islands, for example, or at the very beginning of the mammal age when there weren´t many large predatory mammals just yet).

    The one from Australia was a rare case, because it did coexist with a large predatory mammal, Thylacoleo (the so called "marsupial lion").

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  11. Fascinating stuff. I need to read up on all this.

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