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17 Animals that Eat their Babies (A to Z List & Pictures)

animals that eat their babies

Examples of animals that eat their babies include blenny fish, cats, dogs, hamsters, and chickens.

Many animals eat their young, and it’s not always because they’re hungry. Some animals do this to control the population and feed their other babies.

Other animals do it for social reasons, like the Laysan Albatross that practices infanticide in order to get a mate.

Examples of Animals that Eat their Babies

In the animal kingdom, cannibalism is a common practice. For example, female seagulls eat their eggs so that they can produce more eggs for their reproductive cycle.

There are many other examples of animals eating their own babies including

1. Blenny Fish

Blenny Fish
Scientific NameBlenniiformes
Type of AnimalFish
Rangerocky pools to sandy beaches

7If you thought that eating your own babies was only something mammals do, then think again. Blenny fish are a type of small marine fish with teeth specially evolved for feeding on their own young.

Scientists have found evidence of cannibalistic blennies in twenty-six different species living throughout the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

2. Cats

Persian Cat
Scientific NameFelis catus
Type of AnimalMammal

Cats are well known for their mothering abilities, and they will typically stick with one litter of kittens at a time.

However, if the cat’s milk dries up or the kittens become weakened by illness, it may be necessary to take them back from her before she can harm them.

If you’ve ever had a kitten die in your home, you may have noticed that the mother cat will often eat her kittens’ bodies. This is known as “cannibalism.”

3. Dogs

Samoyed Dog
Scientific NameCanis lupus familiaris
Type of AnimalMammal

Dogs are considered to be the most loyal of all pets, but even these furry friends eat their own young if they are threatened.

According to the ASPCA, “when puppies are born, their mother may eat them if she feels they are in danger.”

This is most likely to happen if there are other dogs in the home that may threaten the puppies.” It’s not just domesticated canines that do this either. Wolves, coyotes, and jackals are also known to consume their young in times of peril.

4. Chickens

Scientific NameGallus gallus domesticus
Type of AnimalBird

In the wild, chickens will eat their own chicks if there is not enough food to go around. They have also been known to eat other baby animals, such as ducks and rabbits.

Chicks that are born in a hatchery are especially vulnerable to being eaten by their mothers since they do not have the natural defenses that chicks born in the wild have.

5. Chimpanzees

Scientific NamePan troglodytes
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangesouthern Senegal

Chimpanzees are one of the most well-known cannibalistic animals. They have been known to eat their own young, as well as other chimps’ young. This is thought to be due to a lack of food resources or because the baby was born with a defect.

6. Hamsters

White Dwarf Hamster
Scientific NameCricetinae
Type of AnimalMammal

Hamsters are one of the most popular small pets in the world. They are cute, fluffy, and relatively easy to care for.

However, did you know that hamsters are cannibalistic animals? In the wild, hamsters will eat their young if they sense danger or if there is not enough food to go around.

7. Lions

Lion licking its lips
Scientific NamePanthera leo
Type of AnimalMammal

Lions eat their cubs for many different reasons. Sometimes the mother is just not feeling up to providing care, so she kills her offspring instead of letting them starve or get eaten by predators.

This usually happens when food is scarce, but it can also happen during times of conflict within a pride.

8. Parasitic Wasps

Scientific NameMeteorus autographae
Type of AnimalInsect

Parasitic wasps are one of the animals that eat their babies. These tiny creatures lay their eggs inside the bodies of other insects, such as caterpillars. When the eggs hatch, the baby wasps feed on the body of their host until they are ready to emerge and start hunting for food on their own.

9. Polar Bear

polar bear
Scientific NameUrsus maritimus
Type of AnimalMammal

The polar bear is the largest land carnivore in the world. It’s also an animal that eats its babies.

This large, powerful predator will eat just about anything it can catch and overpower. Polar bears have been known to hunt seals on top of ice flows and even swim after seabirds resting at their nesting colonies.

They are very opportunistic hunters and will take advantage of any food source they can find.

10. Prairie Dog

Prairie Dog
Scientific NameCynomys
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeSonora and Chihuahua in Mexico

The prairie dog is a small rodent that lives in the grasslands of North America. Believe it or not, these little creatures are some of the most cannibalistic animals on Earth.

Studies have shown that up to 50% of prairie dog pup deaths are due to their parents eating them.

11. Rabbits

Scientific NameOryctolagus cuniculus
Type of AnimalMammal

Female rabbits are very protective of their young. To protect them during birth, a rabbit mother will build a “nest” out of twigs and grass to keep the newborn bunnies warm.

The nests are usually in secluded areas because once born, the baby’s mother is not very welcoming. She will even eat her babies if they are born outside of the nest.

12. Rats

Scientific NameRattus
Type of AnimalMammal

Rats are reddish-brown mammals, and they belong to the same family as mice. Rats can be found all over the world. They come out at night to look for food. Sometimes, rats will eat their own babies so that there is more food for the other rats in their group.

13. Rattlesnakes

Scientific NameCrotalus
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeUnited States

Rattlesnakes are famous for their cannibalistic behavior. Because rattlesnake mothers give birth to live young, the hatchlings are born with a full set of teeth and venom ready to be deadly.

This makes it easier for the babies to fend for themselves right away but also forces them to compete against each other from the moment they come into this world.

Related Article: Do Rattlesnakes Hibernate?

14. Sand Tiger Shark

Tiger Shark
Scientific NameCarcharias taurus
Type of AnimalFish
Rangecentral and eastern Pacific

The sand tiger shark is one of the animals that eat their babies. These sharks are found in the coastal waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. They are a large species, measuring up to 9 feet in length.

What is interesting about these sharks is that they are viviparous, which means that they give birth to live young after carrying the developing embryos in their uterus.

Sand tiger sharks carry their young for about 12 months and will give birth to anywhere from 1-2 pups at once.

15. Scorpions

Deathstalker Scorpion
Scientific NameScorpiones
Type of AnimalInsect

Believe it or not, scorpions are one of the animals that eat their young. They do this for a number of reasons: to get rid of competition for food, to reduce the population size, and to increase the chances that the few offspring that survive will be healthy.

Baby scorpions are cannibalistic, meaning they will eat other baby scorpions. This helps ensure the survival of only the strongest baby scorpion.

16. Spiders

orb weaving spider
Scientific NameAraneae
Type of AnimalInsect

One of the most cannibalistic animals on Earth is the spider. Spiders eat their babies all the time.

In fact, baby spiders are a common food for adult spiders. This is because baby spiders are small and relatively easy to catch. Adult spiders also eat other invertebrates, such as insects.

17. Tiger Salamanders

Tiger Salamander
Scientific NameAmbystoma tigrinum
Type of AnimalReptile
Rangethe Atlantic coast south of New York and down to Florida

Their larvae are divided into two types: A smaller “cannibal morph larva” feeds on aquatic invertebrates, whereas a much bigger “cannibal morph larva” can consume its non-cannibal morph relatives.

According to Backyard Zoologist, a few experts believe the mutation is produced by environmental causes, particularly in areas where tiger salamander populations are dense.

If there’s already a lot of competition for food, they tend to go straight for the competition.

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