In the wild, there is only one rule – eat or be eaten. This rule is demonstrated by a food chain where the plants and herbivores are towards the bottom and the predators are towards the top. Apex predators are those animals that are at the topmost level of the food chain for their habitat and are not prey to anyone. This is our list of the top 10 apex predators that rule the wild.
Apex Predators In The World
1. Killer whale
The Killer Whale, made famous by lead roles in many Hollywood movies, is not actually a whale and belongs to the dolphin family. It can grow up to 9 meters in length and weigh about 9000 kilos. They are social and highly intelligent animals that live in groups of around 40 members called “pods”. Each group has a different sound it uses to communicate and distinct hunting techniques. The Killer Whale hunts any marine animals ranging from small fish, seals, sharks to dolphins and other whales.
This famous and majestic big cat is the most feared predator of Asian jungles and can weigh up to 300 kilos. It lives and hunts alone and is fiercely territorial often fighting with other tigers for control of territory. The muscular body, speed and striped fur used to camouflage in the foliage make it a deadly predator which has no match in the wild. Of the nine sub-species of the tiger, three are already extinct and the other six, including the Bengal Tiger, are endangered due to poaching and habitat loss.
3. Great White Shark
This large fish too has acquired fame thanks to Hollywood and is the largest predatory fish in the world (the Killer Whale, though larger, is a mammal). It hunts smaller fish, whales, turtles and seals using its sense of smell and over three hundred sharp teeth. Shark attacks on humans are almost always done by Great Whites and the bleeding due to the bite may cause death. It can reach great speeds using its tail and is the apex predator of the seas.
This majestic predator is found in Asia and Africa and is the second biggest member of the Felidae family after the tiger. The male is identified by the golden-brown mane around its neck. Lions live in groups of 10-40 members called “prides” led by the male. The lionesses are responsible for hunting and they do this as a group by chasing the prey and killing it by puncturing the windpipe using their sharp teeth. Their wild populations are declining due to poaching, deforestation and habitat destruction.
5. Polar Bear
These large bears are found to the extreme north, in the Arctic region and are able to live in very cold conditions due to their thick fur and a layer of fat under the skin called blubber. They hunt a number of smaller arctic animals like seals, sea lions, otters and fish and can weigh more than 700 kilos, making them the largest terrestrial carnivores. They have no natural predators in their habitat and are therefore classified as apex predators.
6. Golden Eagle
The only bird to make it to the list of top ten apex predators, the Golden Eagle is a bird with strong wings and sharp talons it uses to tear into prey. it also has excellent eyesight and can spot prey from great heights, after which it swiftly dives to catch it. Eagles can reach speeds of over 300 kilometers per hour during such dives. They prey on rabbits, smaller birds, snakes and rodents.
7. Saltwater Crocodile
These crocodiles are the largest reptiles living today and can grow to lengths of 5 meters and weigh over 1000 kilos. They are found in Australia, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Thailand and Papua New Guinea. They hunt prey by lying still in the water and waiting for it to approach, after which they strike with deadly precision and drag the prey down into the water. They hunt all animals including deer, wild boar, monkeys, fish and other crocodiles. They are apex predators in the water.
8. Snow Leopard
This elusive cat is called a Ghost because they are very difficult to spot. This is mainly due to diminishing population size, extreme stealth and excellent camouflage. They live on the mountain slopes of South and Central Asia and hunt animals larger than them like Himalayan Blue Bull, Ibex, Argali and other mountainous cattle. It uses its strong legs to pounce on the prey and kills it like the lions, by puncturing the wind pipe. Because it lives at such high altitudes, it has no other predator to compete with and is the apex predator of the snow caps. You can also read about strange animals found only in Africa.
9. Komodo Dragon
The Komodo dragon may seem like an unlikely entry, but this large lizard is an effective predator because of an unusual property. It lives only in a small part of Indonesia and kills its prey by biting it, which injects thousands of bacteria in its body. Even if the prey escapes, it is likely to die within 24 hours because of the bacterial infection. The Komodo dragon then returns to eat the dead animal. Because of its extremely limited habitat, it has no natural predator making it one of the top ten apex predators.You can also read most dangerous animals in the World.
10. Grizzly Bear
This animal, a much feared predator in North America has the scientific name Ursus horriblis. It is smaller than the Polar bear and the Alaskan Brown Bear but is known for frequently attacking humans who come too close. It has sharp claws and teeth and attacks prey with great speed. It also uses its sense of smell and hearing to locate fish, rodents and small animals that it eats though it does not have very good eyesight. This animal has made it to the list of top ten apex predators due to its temperament and willingness to attack anything it sees as a threat, usually with fatal accuracy.
All these animals have no match in the wild but are under threat from the most dangerous predator of all – humans. The number of predators in the wild is decreasing because people hunt them for food, fur and fun and destroy the natural habitat they live in. This undoubtedly makes human beings the predator at the top of the food chain, and since we do not hunt these animals only for food, we threaten to destroy the balance in the ecosystem by exploiting nature and treating animals as things that have no intrinsic value in the wild. You can also read about most dangerous amazon rainforest animals.