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29 Examples of Cannibalistic Animals (A to Z List & Pictures)

spider

Examples of animals that are cannibals include Black Widows, Chickens, Rabbits, Sharks, And Hamsters.

Cannibalism is the act of one animal eating another. It’s a pretty dark subject, but it’s an important part of our ecosystem. There are many animals that eat other animals, sometimes their own kind

Examples of Animals That Are Cannibals

Cannibalism is a somewhat rare behavior among animals, but it does occur. Animals that are cannibals often live in harsh environments where food is scarce and they need to survive by consuming the bodies of other animals.

1. Black Widows

black widow
Scientific NameLatrodectus
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeUnited States, southern Europe and Asia, Australia, Africa
DietCarnivore

Black Widows are some of the most famous cannibalistic spiders. They usually eat their male counterparts after mating, so there is a good chance that they will always have a meal waiting for them.

This behavior can be found in many different types of spiders including orb weavers and wolf spiders.

2. Chickens

chicken
Scientific NameGallus gallus domesticus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

Chickens are, after all, chicken eaters. The pecking order is the reason why chickens devour one another. Chicks that are bigger and stronger demonstrate their dominance by pecking the smaller chickens with their pointy beaks.

As a result of this, everyone starts picking on the chicken, which leads to blood dripping out resulting in the chicken’s death.

3. Chimpanzees

Chimpanzee
Scientific NamePan troglodytes
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangecentral and West Africa
DietOmnivore

Chimpanzees are our closest relatives. They have been observed killing and eating other chimps, not to mention their natural diet consists of over 450 animal species.

This may be due to the fact that chimpanzees live in male-dominated societies where males must compete for mates. The stronger ones will fend off predators while hunting or kill prey much larger than themselves. They even sometimes hunt monkeys too.

4. Crab Spider

crab spider
Scientific NameThomisidae
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeEurope and North America
DietCarnivore

This group includes the crab spider. These mothers will provide their young with unfertilized eggs, as well her own body to eat in order for them survive

A mother who has just given birth eats its young so that she can feed both herself and nurture them until it becomes mature enough for food on their own.

5. Crickets

cricket
Scientific NameGrylloidea
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

Cannibalistic ground crickets of Zimbabwe, for example, are notorious for scavenging their own species’ already-dead bodies. This practice is known as kleptoparasitism, and it’s common among cricket species.

6. Ducklings

ducklings
Scientific NameAnas platyrhynchos
Type of AnimalBird
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

It is common for baby chicks to peck at each other, but under normal circumstances, this behavior stops within the first couple of weeks.

When bored or irritated by overcrowding, poor ventilation, or insufficient food, ducklings are reported to engage in cannibalistic behavior.

7. Dyeing Poison Frogs

poison dart frog
Scientific NameDendrobates tinctorius
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeFrench Guinea and rainforests in northeastern Brazil
DietCarnivore

Frogs partake of anuraphagy. Although their reasons for this are related to size and/or displacement (for example larger frogs will eat smaller ones), it gets stranger than that! If one frog is from another location then it’s 40% more likely they’ll be eaten by other frogs.

 In some instances, frogs will eat other frogs of their own species and when they happen they usually end up eating their siblings.

8. Earwigs

Scientific NameDermaptera
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeAmericas and Eurasia
DietOmnivore

Earwigs frequently consume their moms as soon as they become capable of doing so, usually after ending their care cycles.

This unusual-looking behavior isn’t performed against the mother’s will, and mama earwigs that give up their lives as food for their youngsters have healthier babies, according to studies. When compared to hamsters, what an extraordinary maternal sacrifice.

9. Freshwater Shrimp

Scientific NameMacrobrachium rosenbergii
Type of AnimalCrustacean
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

7Freshwater shrimp are small crustaceans that live in freshwater. They can be found all over the world, and they’re known for their bright colors.

Some of them eat other kinds of algae, but others will eat snails or smaller creatures. These cannibalistic shrimp have a voracious appetite and if there isn’t enough food for everyone they will go for the next best thing- their own species.

10. Great Apes

Ape
Scientific NameHominidae
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAfrica
DietOmnivore

Great apes are animals that eat their own kind. These apes, including gorillas and chimpanzees, have been known to eat other members of their group.

Males are known to kill and consume the offspring of another female, usually in their own group but occasionally in another. When chimps engage in a fight with individuals from other groups, they do not consume the body.

11. Hamsters

White Dwarf Hamster
Scientific NameCricetinae
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

Cannibalism has been observed in hamsters, although it appears to happen as a result of a restricted diet.

Switching hamsters from an all-corn diet to one with grains, roots, and insects instead of a more varied one may cause the moms to eat their young, according to Gizmodo.

12. Hedgehogs

hedgehog
Scientific NameErinaceinae
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeEurope, Asia, Africa and New Zealand
DietOmnivore

If the mother gets frightened, adult African pygmy hedgehog will eat their young.

Some veterinarians advise keeping hedgehog mothers in a separate place away from their newborns before and after birth in order to prevent litters of newborn hedgehogs from being eaten.

13. Hippopotamuses

Hippopotamus
Scientific NameHippopotamus amphibius
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAfrica
DietOmnivore

Cannibalism has been observed in one of the first cases among hippos. During a safari in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, conservation biologist Leejiah Dorward discovered a hippo eating the half-submerged corpse of another near a river’s edge.

14. Humboldt Squid

Squid
Scientific NameDosidicus gigas
Type of AnimalFish
RangeTierra del Fuego to the northern coast of Peru
DietCarnivore

The Humboldt squid is a large type of squid. They can grow up to six feet long, and they are very smart.

These creatures like to eat smaller fish in the ocean, but when food becomes scarce they will turn on each other. The cannibalistic behavior begins with one attacking another by grabbing its arms or tentacles.

15. Ladybugs

Ladybug
Scientific NameCoccinellidae
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

Ladybugs will eat other ladybugs eggs and larvae if food is scarce.

16. Nematode

Scientific NameNematoda
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

The self-fertilizing hermaphrodite nematode, often known as a roundworm, can produce hundreds of eggs at a time.

The babies consume their way out from within the mother worm while they hatch inside her.

17. Parasitic Wasp

Scientific NameMeteorus autographae Muesebeck
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

Parasitic wasps are extremely interesting. They will lay their eggs inside of other insects, which the baby parasitic wasp larvae then eat alive from the inside out.

Then the female babies will eat the males in order to cull the brood because it doesn’t take a lot of males to father the next generation.

18. Perch

yellow perch
Scientific NamePerca
Type of AnimalFish
Range North America
DietCarnivore

People may not think of perch as terrifying, but they are a type of fish that will eat their own young. This is called “intrauterine cannibalism” and it has been observed in many species of Percidae including the Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis).

19. Pigs

A pig looking at the viewer
Scientific NameSus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

70Pigs are known for being very smart. However, this intelligence doesn’t stop them from eating their own kind.

Pigs will actually eat anything they can find- including members of the same species. They have been reported to kill and devour baby pigs if there is not enough food available to satisfy all the animals in a group or if they are stressed.

20. Polar Bear

polar bears
Scientific NameUrsus maritimus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeArctic
DietCarnivore

The polar bear is one of the biggest predators in its ecosystem.

Polar Bears are very powerful animals, but they don’t eat their own kind often. They only do this when food is scarce and out of desperation.

When a mother bears her young she will keep them away from other members of the pack to make sure that there is enough food for her and the baby. If there is not, she will often eat them.

21. Prairie Dogs

Prairie Dog
Scientific NameCynomys
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeRocky Mountains
DietOmnivore

Prairie dogs are squirrel-like rodents that live in large groups called “coteries”. They are very social and affectionate animals, but they do have one bad habit: cannibalism is common among female prairie dogs, who consume the young of their relatives.

22. Praying Mantises

Mantis
Scientific NameMantodea
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeWorldwide
DietCarnivore

Praying mantises are ferocious predators that ambush other insects. They’re also known for eating each other, especially during mating season when the female praying mantis will tear of the head of the male and eat it for nourishment.

23. Rabbits

rabbit
Scientific NameOryctolagus cuniculus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeWorldwide
DietHerbivore

Rabbits and hares are herbivores, so they eat plants. However, some of these animals have been known to turn on their own kind in times of scarcity.

Rabbits can become cannibals when food is limited or hard to get. They may even attack members of their own litter (babies) in order to survive, an act called infanticide.

24. Red Squirrels

Red Squirrel
Scientific NameSciurus vulgaris
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeUnited States and parts of Canada
DietOmnivore

Infanticide and cannibalism are practiced by male red squirrels. Male squirrels near the nest frequently kill and consume the pups, which are usually not the father.

25. Sand Tiger Sharks

Tiger Shark
Scientific NameCarcharias taurus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeTropical coastal seas
DietCarnivore

Sand tiger sharks, perhaps the most unforgiving of cannibals, begin devouring their own fetuses in utero, with bigger and more developed fetuses consuming smaller and weaker siblings right there within the womb.

This makes for stronger, healthier shark babies born into this world.

26. Scorpions

Deathstalker Scorpion
Scientific NameScorpiones
Type of AnimalArachnida
RangeWorldwide
DietCarnivore

Scorpions are invertebrates with a segmented body, two pincers, and long tail that contains venom.

They live in warm climates where they find shelter under rocks or bark to protect them from the sun. The scorpion’s diet consists of insects like crickets, worms, grasshoppers etc., but sometimes these animals will eat their own babies if food is scarce.

27. Snakes

Snake with open mouth
Scientific NameSerpentes
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeWorldwide
DietCarnivore

Some animals eat their own kind because they are protecting themselves from predators, or because of a lack of food and nutrition in the wild.

These creatures will eat anything that moves as long as it’s not them (and sometimes even if it is) in one extreme scenario, a rat snake ate two-thirds of its own body in order to survive.

28. Tiger Salamanders

Tiger Salamander
Scientific NameAmbystoma tigrinum
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeAtlantic coast south of New York
DietCarnivore

The tiger salamander is a common North American amphibian. They have been known to eat each other, but scientists aren’t sure if this behavior is intentional or not.

It’s possible that the cannibalism in these creatures isn’t predatory in nature and that it might be triggered by overcrowding or lack of food sources in their environment.

29. Walleye

Walleye
Scientific NameSander vitreus
Type of AnimalFish
RangeArctic south to the Great Lakes
DietCarnivore

Walleye are a species of fish that live in the northern parts of the world. They eat smaller fish, but if their food supply is scarce they will turn to cannibalism instead.

This happens when walleye become desperate for food and prey on other walleyes. When this occurs they usually target younger ones since older walleyes are much larger and more difficult to catch.

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