Where Does an African Wild Dog Exist Within Its Food Chain?

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African wild dogs are high-ranking predators in the savanna ecosystem, and scientists consider them apex predators. Apex predators are those that are rarely, if ever, hunted by other predators as adults. African wild dogs consume virtually all of the large herbivores sharing their habitat, and fear very few predators.

While outranked by lions and spotted hyenas, African wild dogs fear very few other animals. Because they form large packs of 30 or more animals, African wild dogs can attack and kill very large prey, including water buffalo, impalas and zebras. African wild dogs are not very big, and their success hinges on their numbers. These numbers also help the dogs to defend their kills from scavenging lions and hyenas. Additionally, African wild dogs are very fast eaters. This helps them to get as many calories as possible before competitors can steal their food.

Despite their predatory prowess, African wild dogs occasionally become prey for other large predators, including leopards, hyenas, lions and crocodiles. However, the primary threats facing African wild dogs are disease and starvation. Besides using their speed and excellent sensory capabilities, their pack-forming habits help to keep these dogs safe. African wild dogs take very good care of the weaker members of their group, to protect them from predators.