To Know Thy Enemy

Joel Berger

in The Better to Eat You With

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780226043630
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226043647 | DOI:
To Know Thy Enemy

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  • Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology


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This chapter discusses how species alter their behavior in response to predators. Vervet monkeys, for instance, tend to associate preferentially with humans when leopards are near, less so when they are not. Wildebeest in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park rest on manicured lawns at night, a period when lions and spotted hyenas are most active yet still shy of people. Elk congregate around Yellowstone National Park headquarters, sites less frequented by wolves and bears. More contentious than how the risk of death modifies a species' or population's behavior is its cultural emergence. How do prey acquire knowledge? How is fear transmitted? How much time is required for a population to adjust? To understand how antipredator behaviors develop in a population is not easy and it is ever so challenging for large mammals. Researchers are faced with three initial difficulties—handling animals, obtaining adequate sample sizes, and performing field experiments.

Keywords: vervet monkeys; leopards; wildebeest; elk; predators; prey; cultural emergence; fear; antipredator behaviors

Chapter.  7571 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology

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