A predator is an animal that hunts and kills other animals for food. That being said, there are some plants e.g. pitcher plant and venus fly trap that attract and kill animals for food too. Predators are usually at the top of any food chain and have evolved efficient tools and methods for catching and killing their prey. They usually have sharp claws and teeth, some are venomous too, injecting poisons into their prey that either immobilises or kills it. They also possess extremely acute senses – smell, sight hearing and even touch to enable them to find their prey efficently and without wasting precious energy.
The largest predators today are in the sea, the sperm whale being the biggest. The average length of this predator is sixteen metres but specimens of over twenty metres have been recorded. It feeds on squid and dives to incredible depths (over two thousand metres) in its quest for these cephalopods. The only living predator that comes close to this in size is the colossal squid, but most of that is tentacles!
During the time of the dinosaurs, there were many more large predators than exist today, both on land and sea; probably the best known of these large prehistoric predators is the Tyrannosaurus Rex, which at a mere thirteen metres, only just makes it into the top fifteen.
One of the more controversial is the Megalodon, the shark-like creature at number 3 on this largest predators list. It is indisputably a type of shark and therefore had a skeleton of cartilage so no complete fossil has been found, just teeth and vertebra. Scientists still cannot agree on its family or appearance. It’s body shape is a best guess, but it is generally believed to resemble a stocky version of the great white shark (of ‘Jaws’ fame). It’s teeth are much larger than modern sharks and this must have been a fearsome predator indeed.
H/T: Predator Haven found on Pinterest.