Do Animals Really Murder One Another?

Maybe a lot of us do not stop to wonder if animals really murder one another. We have all seen the animal and nature shows where one species hunts down another, they show lots of scenarios. We may see a brown bear snatching a juicy salmon out of a mountain stream, or a poor antelope getting run down by a speeding cheetah – but that is always for food. The question here is whether or not animals murder one another for other reasons such as anger, spite, or even love.

Which Type of Animal Gets Murdered Most Often

It is mostly for food and nutrition that we see many deaths between interspecies. However, when it comes to murder among animals, what we actually see is that animals tend to murder mostly their own kind.

If we examine the arachnids and insects, what we see is sexual cannibalism. There are several species where the female actually eats a male either after, during or before their ritual of mating. A couple of examples of this are the black widow spider and the Chinese mantis. And surprisingly enough, shark embryos have been known to gobble up their siblings while inside the womb of their mother shark.

Reasons for Animals Murdering Animals

Of course, animal murder doesn’t always involve eating. There are several fish species such as bettas and cichlids that as adults become extremely territorial. They will attack and even kill other fish there are placed in their areas of control.

We can examine and see that all through the Earth’s animal kingdoms, there are countless battles that occur over the claim of mates – sometimes these conflicts result in death. Believe it or not, there are some species of hummingbirds that have been known to lethally dagger other males during a daring aerial battle. There are a few instances where the competition itself will accidentally kill an animal. For instance, several Western toad males will occasionally crowd the desired female and inadvertently drown her in the process.

The biggest offender of murder in the animal kingdom occurs among social mammals.  In 2016, researchers from Spain claimed that over 4 million deaths occurred among 1024 different mammals – including human beings.

The FBI tells us that there were almost 16,000 murders among humans in the United States alone. These happened because of numerous reasons such as money, jealousy, hatred – just to name a few. It would be a good guess to think that humans would easily be the mammal that was most likely to murder its own species.

Discovering the Most Murderous Mammals

However, humans did not even place among the top 30 animals likely to kill their own kind. Yet other species that are commonly believed to kill one another such as wolves, monkeys, lemurs, and lions were on the list.

The real surprise was the presence of a few species on the list that had previously been considered to be peaceful. For instance, we learned that ground squirrels, chinchillas, deer, gazelle, and even wild horses were all in the top 50 among species who most likely killed their own.

Believe it or not, it was discovered that meerkats were found to be the most murderous mammal. It is estimated that approximately 20 percent of the meerkats’ population will die from the murder of another meerkat.

In the end, the study revealed that a little less than 50 percent of the mammal species actually killed their own kind. One of the most murderous species groups were the primates. There are about 8 times more probable of killing their own species than other types of mammals.

So now we know if animals really murder one another. Just ask the next meerkat you see.