One of my big projects this month is book about predators. It’ll be my 6th book in National Geographic Kids Everything series, and I continue to be excited to write for them, especially since I was so enthralled with National Geographic Magazine growing up.
And while I’ve done a lot of book research about animals over my years, and written many books about different critters, it’s always fun when a project helps you learn new things, or at least look at the world differently.
That is very true of this project. It has stretched my understanding of what predators are. Mostly we think of animals like sharks and lions and wolves as predators. But when looking at what truly defines them: animals that get energy from eating other animals, the definition of a predator expands to goldfish, songbirds, hornets, toads, whales, moles, etc . . . There are thousands of animals, that eat other animals, that we don’t normally think of as predators because of our fascination with the apex predators.
What makes a predator?
- Predators kill and eat the animals they hunt.
- Typically, predators are larger than their prey, with exceptions for animals that hunt in groups, like a pack of wolves or an army of ants.
- Predators have heighten senses, like a hawk’s keen sight, or special features, like a chameleon’s long and sticky tongue, to help them catch prey.
TRIVIA: Blue whales are the world’s largest predator, eating tons of krill a day.