Bovids are an important food source for a variety of natural predators, and in Eastern and Southern Africa bovids are the primary food source for many pradator species including lions and cheetahs. On the African continent nearly all bovids are vulnerable to predation by lions and African wild dogs, but young, old and sick individuals are particularly susceptible. Leopards, spotted hyenas, cheetahs, Nile crocodiles, and side-striped jackals are also major predators of smaller bovid species. In North America, bovids are vulnerable to predation by grey wolves, brown bears, and cougar. Packs of wolves and adult bears are typically the only predators capable of taking down the largest bovids in North America, like American bison. On the continent of Asia, grey wolves and tigers, are predators of bovids. Leopards, dholes and mugger crocodiles are also capable of taking bovids as prey. There are some cases of Komodo dragons consuming goats and even water buffalo. Many predators like wild dogs and large cats are notorious for taking domesticated livestock, including domestic goats, domestic sheep, and cattle.
Bovids are formidable opponents and are capable of putting up an incredible fights against their predators. Strength in numbers, dangerous horns, powerful kicks, speed, and in some cases, sheer size are more than enough to deter most predation attempts. Muskox form tight knit circles of adults around their young, making an impenetrable wall against potential predators. Cape buffalo have been known to charge and kill lions. Many species of bovid are extremely fastest and use their speed to out maneuver predatory pursuers. Forest dwelling bovids, such as Bongo antelope have cryptic coats to help camouflage themselves in densely vegetated habitats.
- Lion Panthera leo
- African wild dog Lycaon pictus
- Leopard Panthera pardus
- Spotted hyena Crocuta crocuta
- Cheetah Acinonyx jubatus
- Nile crocodile Crocodylus niloticus
- Side-striped jackal Canis adustus
- Grey wolf Canis lupus
- Grizzly bear Ursus arctos horribilis
- Brown bear Ursus arctos
- Cougar Puma concolor
- Tiger Panthera tigris
- Dhole Cuon alpinus
- Mugger crocodile Crocodylus palustris
- Komodo Dragon Varanus komodoensis
- Human Homo sapiens
Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic
- Carbyn, L., T. Trotter. 1988. Descriptions of Wolf Attacks on Bison Calves in Wood Buffalo National Park. Arctic, 41: 297-302.
- Grange, S., P. Duncan. 2006. Bottom-up and Top-down Processes in African Ungulate Communities: resources and Predation Acting on the Relative Abundance of Zebras and Grazing Bovids. Ecography, 29: 899-907.
- Rasmussen, G. 1999. Livestock Predation by the Painted Hunting Dog, Lycaon pictus, in a Cattle Ranching Region of Zimbabwe: a Case Study. Biological Conservation, 88: 133-139.
- Scheel, D. 1993. Profitability, Encounter Rates and Prey Choice of African Lions. Behavioral Ecology, 4: 90-97.
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