It's an indisputable law of nature for an animal to live it needs to eat often other animals so the race begins predator versus prey a high-stakes game of hide-and-seek.
Where the hunter uses strength stove speed or smarts against its luckless target for predators that's what it takes to survive the wild.
beneath the calm surface the ocean teems with predators each with its own deadly strategy dolphins plying the water in large social pods are famously smart and playful mammals.
but when it comes to predation the pods strategies are no laughing matter on the east coast of south africa on the akulhas bank the dolphins get down to business so.
Each year between may and july pods gather to take part in a dazzling natural phenomenon south africa's great sardine run following the seasonal cold current the spawning sardines come together in their millions.
Forming shoals of up to 9 miles long and 100 feet deep in pursuit individual dolphin pods merge to form megapods 18 000 strong but they're not the only predators with a taste for sardines.
The commotion draws sharks from below while cape gannets follow the action from above plunging after the sardines like fish seeking missiles they can hit the water head-on at close to 60 miles per hour thanks to their shock-absorbing skulls predators will shadow the sardines.
Almost every inch of their perilous 750 mile journey the feast won't last long so the dolphins feed as efficiently as possible in teams they flank the sardines into.
Densely packed bait balls then they take turns plowing through gobbling as many as they can by corralling the mass of sardines into shallow water the predators limit their escapement but the frenzied shimmering bait ball.
Makes it hard for the dolphins to focus on their target as the two-month sardine run ends the mega pod disbands and the dolphins return to their smaller groups when the sardines return next year so will the dolphins.
While dolphins fly through the water further inland another predator floats in the air the kestrel about the size of a pigeon australia's smallest falcon uses an extraordinary technique to snag its quarry.
earning it the nickname wind hoverer in central australia alice springs provides kestrels with plenty of hunting opportunities from her perch this female uses her keen.
Eyesight to scan the landscape it's been a tough day and her search yields nothing exhausted she moves on desperate to make a kill back at her nest their chicks await their mother's return.
She managed to scrounge an earthworm but it's nothing more than a snack she needs to keep looking chicks depend on her for four months after they hatch and she can't let them down at last she spots something moving.
a mouse no time to waste she drops in for the kill but she fumbles the strike and it escapes she won't let it get away that easily ever patient she takes to the air to perform her signature hunting move.
if need be she can remain pinned to the air even in 12 miles per hour winds by extending the tips of her wings she flies into the wind cancelling her forward momentum and allowing her to hover all the while she makes micro.
Adjustments to compensate for fluctuations in the breeze she changes altitude but she's not letting the mouse's burrow out of her sight when the mouse appears she makes her move.
To the mouse it's like she appeared out of thin air no escape this time at last the kestrel can feed her hungry chicks sure while the kestrel terrorizes mice in australia over in africa lives a.
Predator that terrifies just about everyone the nile crocodile these cold-blooded reptilian strategists are the apex predators of their range despite the name nile crocodiles don't just stick to the nile.
They rule many of the continent's waterways including south africa's sabi river in this period of extreme drought along the sabi foods scarce but the nile crocodile shrugs it off in his burrow along the riverbank he enters a form of hibernation.
Waiting for life to return to the river he can stay dormant for up to two years and awaken with a mean appetite small fish and birds don't interest him he's hankering for pigment fortunately large game and lots of it is coming his way.
Migrating wildebeest are heading toward the river for them the sarby is an obstacle in the way to better grazing grounds and to cross it they'll need to pay a toll to the crocodiles with just its eyes and nostrils above.
The water line the crocodile stakes his ambush position along the water's edge submerging completely they glide into place and wait motionless for hours until the perfect moment to strike whether the wildebeest know about the danger or not there's no way around it.
meanwhile the croc joins his comrades to welcome their guests with open jaws no one's going home hungry today while he prefers to strike at the water's edge during the stampede crocs change tactics to hunt mid-stream where they have the advantage.
Usually if he can't catch a wildebeest maybe a zebra will do no luck there either but now another wildebeest he'll try to hold it under in his jaws and drown it.
he's joined by the others together they share the spoils so because their teeth are better at grabbing prey than chewing it group feeding allows the crocs to use each.
Other as leverage to tear off bite-sized pieces they make the most of the feast while it lasts and then make do until migration time comes again the croc may be the apex predator in africa's rivers but the ocean boasts a predator poster girl all its own.
The great white shark these highly adapted hunters are the largest predatory fish on the planet just the sight of their grave fin cutting through the water strikes terror in humans and marine life alike but most of their victims never see them coming.
This psy carnival prefers to attack from below the southern ocean bordering south australia is home to a healthy population of great whites these coastal waters provide plenty of dining opportunities because they're also popular nesting grounds.
The sea lions this colony basks on the shore and in the shallows out of the great white's reach for now but they'll need to enter open water to feed so.
When threatened an easy-going sea lion might be able to out-swim a great white but just build if the shark hopes to catch one she must strike her nimble prey unaware coming at it from the depths the great white's darker top blends with.
The ocean waters making this giant fish almost impossible to see from above with her sharp eyesight keen sense of smell and electro reception the shark locks in on her target and readies herself for the attack the silent shark has the unsuspecting sea lions in sight surging upward from the depths she makes.
Her move just before impact her eyes automatically roll back for protection and then she'll dine well but with her high energy hunting strategy it won't be long before she works up an appetite again the shark's deep water and motion.
Strategy succeeds around half the time but even prey that escapes can suffer devastating injury despite having few natural predators the great white is classed as a vulnerable species for all its might its life in the ocean.
Is often more at risk than some of the species it preys upon while the great white strikes terror off the coast deep inside the rainforest a tiny hunter outwits its prey just as stealthily the porsche spider.
This jumping spider considered to be the most intelligent of the arachnids plots strategies to snare its dangerous quarry other dumber spiders in queensland australia the cape york peninsula is the hunting ground of the cunning porsche.
the porsche's exceptional eyes lock onto a potential meal a green jumping spider moving with calculated nonchalance the porsche patiently draws in disguising her approach with an irregular jerky gate the porsche looks.
More like a flapping leaf than a fellow spider she'll even risk losing sight of her target in order to get as close as possible without being detected at last she strikes and fails and falls but she'll learn from her mistake and.
Refine her strategy the next night finds her again stalking the forest a cross spider much larger than the porsche would make a great meal if she can manage it.
any miscalculation could cost her her life so this time she nails it holding tight.
Long enough to deliver her deadly venom the porsche's ability to learn from her experience makes her a potent predator every kill adds to her assassin's arsenal.
Like most spiders baby porsche spiders get no help from their mothers it's make it or break it from the moment they hatch only the smart ones survive before long she's ready to eat again and returns to the hunt.
This water spider doesn't know it yet but she's on the menu the porsche takes advantage of her potential dinner's bad eyesight to move in close but the water spider compensates with fast reflexes the porsche will keep that in mind the.
Next time she sees one while the porsche spider creeps around on queensland's leaves and twigs down on the ground crawls another unshakable predator the monitor lizard nearly 80 species of monitors live throughout the world.
Australia might have more than its share with over 20 species down under monitors are called goannas being lizards monitors are literally cold-blooded killers australia's largest the parente can reach over eight feet he's not fussy about what he eats anything from eggs to insects to small.
Birds and mammals in queensland's conandale national park a goanna will go on a hunting expedition swaggering through the eucalyptus forest he's after something delicious his flickering tongue sweeps chemical signals from the air toward a scent.
Organ in his mouth it guides him to his prey he sniffs out a possum that height won't help the little marsupial the monitor makes sure he's found the.
Right tree then up he goes so monitors have higher metabolic rates than other lizards making them unusually active for a cold-blooded predator once they're well fed they can live off their food for weeks.
Without the need to eat as the monitor closes in the possum retreats to her nest while she could easily escape through the canopy her young cannot she does her best to defend them her aggressive display finally drives.
The monitor off or does it he's invested too much energy to give up so easily a mother possum puts up a vicious fight but she can't penetrate his hide as he devours her babies the mother has lost everything.
while the predator takes a rest before hunger drives him to hunt again some young animals need care and protection and some absolutely do not evolution can produce some surprising.
Survival strategies most caterpillars are perfectly happy to eat the leaves of the plants they were hatched on they are voracious vegetarians usually on the isolated islands of hawaii a.
Species of caterpillar has developed a taste for flesh everywhere else in the world members of the moth genes hypothesia stick to the salad course but not here.
so on the hawaiian island of oahu the national wildlife refuge is home to several species of carnivorous epithelia caterpillar within the forest this caterpillar.
Appears to be eating leaves but in truth she's setting her trap shaping the leaf to capture what she really craves the caterpillar chews away part of the leaf anchors her hind legs to the stem and waits.
Her body is coated with sensitive hairs and when unsuspecting prey walks over one of these hair triggers she strikes immobilizing her prey in her vice-like pincers she devours her victim alive in the insect-filled forest the caterpillar has no troubles attracting.
Prey there's never a shortage of fruit flies the epithelia caterpillar's bread and butter the flies may be tiny and fast but not fast enough 18 of the 20 caterpillar species native.
To hawaiian islands have evolved into carnivorous predators some epithelia rather than looking like leaves masquerade as twigs as efficient and deadly as these ambush predators are what's truly remarkable is that this is just one phase of its life.
Cycle after the caterpillar has eaten its full of insects it will cocoon itself and emerge as an unremarkable moth um on the open grasslands of the african savannah where herds of grazers dominate.
The landscape death can rush in on graceful cat paws courtesy of the cheetah but the fastest land animal needs more than speed to make it out here she needs strategy in mozambique's gorongosa national park.
She'll put that strategy to the test to feed her family her cubs are old enough to follow her but too young to hunt it's been a while since they last had a decent meal she's on the lookout for game but also for predators.
She's only as fast as her slowest cub when she reaches a hunting spot she'll hide the cubs and carry on alone she closes in on a mixed herd of zebra and wildebeest pacing the periphery she scans for the herd's most vulnerable members concealing herself she'll crouch low and.
Creep in closing the gap between her and her target lacking the bulk of larger predators she depends on the element of surprise to make a quick kill dashing from zero to nearly 60 miles per hour in just over three seconds she can easily outrun her prey but taking it down without injuring.
Herself is the hard part it demands timing and precision even when she makes her catch she doesn't necessarily make the kill because she depends on speed any injury that slows her down could mean starvation so she retreats from conflict.
she returns to her cubs empty-handed with so many mouths to feed she needs to rest up and try again choosing a less ambitious target a newborn wildebeest calf fits the bill there's no stalking now just a desperate dash through the herd.
the cubs will finally get fed but mother has to work quickly before other predators or scavengers steal her prize the meal will satisfy the family for a little while then soon the mother will be on the hunt.
Again if all goes well in about a year and a half their cubs will be self-sufficient expert hunters on their own even for animals at the top of the food chain survival isn't a birthright large and small for predator and for.
Prey making it in the wild depends on innate skill plenty of practice and sometimes sheer luck you