The living things in an ecosystem affect each other in many ways. The consumers that kill other animals for food are called predators. The word predator usually brings to mind pictures of lions and wolves, but such creatures as owls, frogs, and humans are also predators. Some predators, carnivores such as lions, depend entirely on the animals they kill, while many others, such as foxes and humans, eat plants too.
Some people think of predators as ‘bad’, though humans themselves are the greatest predators the world has known. Sometimes individual predators attack farm animals, and so they have to be controlled. Too often, however, people try to exterminate entire populations of predators, with the mistaken idea that they are doing good.
People usually believe that predators have an easy time killing defenceless prey. But studies of predators and they prey show that this isn’t so. After observing tigers in Africa, Dr George Miller wrote: “Their acute senses, great speed, strength and size, and formidable claws and teeth have given many naturalists the impression that they can kill whenever they want… My experience shows quite the contrary: the tiger has to work quite hard for its meals.”