In this guide, we’ll answer the question:
“What eats vultures?”
First, you’ll find a short summary of what animals eat vultures in the wild and then get a detailed list of vulture predators.
Vultures are birds of prey belonging to the Cathartidae family under the Aves class. These birds primarily scavenge on carrion (decaying flesh of dead animals).
There are 23 extant species of vulture including Condors. Old World vultures include 16 living species native to Europe, Africa, and Asia. New World vultures include 7 identified species and are restricted to North and South America.
The lifespan of a vulture is between 10 to 30 years depending on the species.
What Eats Vultures?
Animals that eat vultures include hawks, hyenas, jackals, snakes, wildcats, and humans. A vulture has few natural predators due to its ability to fly and evade attacks.
Hawks are top the list of predators that eats vultures. They are ranked highly as birds of prey because of their ability to kill their prey with their strong and sharp talons. In addition, hawks have a strong beak for biting and tearing flesh.Hawks commonly target small mammals, such as squirrels, voles, rats, and rabbits for food but will not pass an opportunity to snatch a young vulture out of the nest.
A red-tailed hawk, for example, has talons with a grip strength of around 200 pounds per square inch that will instantly kill a young vulture. The fledging period for baby vultures is also around 130 days after hatching, so this makes these young birds especially vulnerable to hawk attacks.
Hyenas are scavengers that often target carcasses left by other animals for food. However, hyenas are also vulture predators because they are opportunistic feeders.
These mammals are skilled hunters and will occasionally catch a vulture when trying to fly away. A flock of vultures on the ground usually signals hyenas about a carcass. Although a pack of hyenas will focus on securing the meat by chasing vultures, some of them will swiftly capture a vulture and feed on it.
Jackals and vultures are both scavengers and will often cross paths when vultures when there is a carcass in their habitat. Just like hyenas, a pack of jackals will fight vultures for carcasses and also turn them into a meal. Jackals will easily scare away vultures from a carcass because they hunt in pairs.
Snakes, mainly arboreal, target young vultures that cannot fly for food. Young vultures are vulnerable to snake attacks because they are weak, small, and unprotected. Snakes can easily reach vulture nests built on tall trees or high cliffs because they are agile climbers. Nonetheless, while snakes hunt for birds, they are usually scared and wary of adult vultures that prey on snakes.
Wildcats have an excellent hunting strategy involving searching, stalking, chasing, and killing. Even though a wildcat’s diet comprises small mammals, such as rodents and rabbits, they are also prime animals that eat vultures when they share a habitat.
As scavengers, they will interact with a flock of vultures while looking for carcasses. In the process of scaring away vultures from the carcass, a wildcat may capture a vulture by sneaking up on it.
A report on NewScientist reveals that researchers have found vultures being sold in bushmeat stalls in 12 countries across West and Central Africa for food and other uses. Poachers harvest vultures in sub-Saharan Africa to sell their parts to people for belief use practices, such as traditional medicine, African vudon, and witchcraft.
UC Berkely reports: “14 of the world’s 23 vulture species are threatened with extinction, particularly in Africa and Asia. In California, the California condor, categorized as ‘extinct in the wild’ in 1987, remains critically endangered.”
What Do Vultures Eat?
Vultures are primarily scavengers that must rely on the carrion of other animals to survive.
You can visit our other guide on what do vultures eat to find out more about what these birds feed on for nutrition.
Animals That Eat Vultures Summary
You now know what eats vultures in the wild and which species are the top vulture predators.
As you discovered in this guide, there are about 6 animals that eat vultures in nature. A vulture has very few enemies due to its ability to fly.
I’m the lead editor and writer for Animal Answer Guide. I enjoy sharing expert knowledge on the various characteristics of common species within the five distinct groups of animals: amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles.