12 animals that are known to eat their babies & mates

Here is a list of 12 animals that are known to eat their own babies & mates

An image of a rat in kitchen ( source:  Igor Norman - Fortolia)

In the animal kingdom, survival often paints a picture far from the nurturing scenes one might imagine.

Some species engage in seemingly shocking behaviors such as eating their own young or mates—a phenomenon known as cannibalism.

This strategy can be driven by various factors including stress, lack of food, or the instinct to eliminate competition.

Here are 12 animals where cannibalism is a surprising yet integral part of their existence.


Known for their lethal bite, female black widows have a notorious reputation for devouring their mates after copulation.

This extreme act is thought to be a nutritional step that supports egg production, highlighting a brutal form of survival.


Similar to their cousins, the black widows, female redback spiders often consume their mates after mating.

This act is believed to be a tactic to ensure that the nutrients from the male can directly benefit the next generation.

It might be unsettling to hear, but cats, especially feral ones, can sometimes consume their young if they are stillborn or pass away shortly after birth.


This behaviour could be driven by the instinct to keep a clean and undisrupted nest area.

Mother rats may eat their young if they are malformed or if she perceives them as unlikely to survive.

This also occurs if the mother rat is under extreme stress or if her nest is continually disturbed.


The praying mantis is another species where females often eat their mates during or after mating.

This behaviour may provide essential nutrients that can help in the successful production and development of eggs.


Sand Tiger Shark embryos consume their fellow womb-mates. Only the strongest survive, ensuring that the emerging pup is the fittest of its litter.

Surprisingly, female hamsters may eat their own young. This can occur if the mother hamster feels stressed, threatened, or if she senses that her offspring are unwell or not viable.


In the wild, male lions taking over a pride will often kill and sometimes eat the cubs sired by other males.

This gruesome act is a natural strategy to bring the female lions back into estrus quicker, allowing the new male to pass on his genes.


Chickens may peck at and can even cannibalize one another, often triggered by stress or overcrowding.

This disturbing behaviour is why many farmers use methods to prevent pecking and cannibalism in coops.


Extreme environmental conditions and scarcity of food can lead polar bears to cannibalism.

Male polar bears are occasionally seen eating cubs during periods when their usual seal diet is scarce.

Under intense stress or severe conditions, mother rabbits might eat their young. This behaviour could be a grim effort to cope with the harsh realities of their environment.


These beetles are known for their unique breeding strategy where they bury carcasses to feed their young.

However, if food is too scarce, they will cannibalize their own larvae.


This content was generated by an AI model and verified by the author.


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