In areas where large carnivore populations have not been significantly reduced by humans, predation represents an important cause of mortality for cervids. For many species, predation is the primary means of controlling population densities. For many cervids, predation on calves is especially important in limiting population size, and much of this predation is accomplished by smaller carnivores (e.g., Canada lynx, caracal, and coyote). It is difficult, however, to estimate the natural effect of predation on cervids, as predator populations in many locations have been significantly reduced or eliminated by humans. To avoid predation, gregarious species foraging in open habitats group together to face potential threats. Solitary species avoid predators by foraging in or near the protective cover of woodland or brush habitat. The young of most cervids have spots or stripes on their pelage, which helps camouflage them in dense vegetation. All species give a harsh bark, which serves as an alarm to conspecifics. Pronking (i.e., continuously jumping high into the air) and tail-flaring is a known response to predators at close range, as well as when individuals are startled. Cervids also have acute senses of sight, hearing, and smell, which helps them avoid potential predators.
- Lynx (Lynx canadensis)
- Caracal (Caracal caracal)
- Coyote (Canis latrans)
- Gray wolf (Canis lupus)
- Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos)
- Mountain lion (Puma concolor)
- Jaguar (Panthera onca)
- Tiger (Panthera tigris)
- Large Raptors (Falconiformes)
- Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis)
- Humans (Homo sapiens)
Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic
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