Cows may seem like pretty large animals, but they are actually quite docile despite their intimidating horns. If you are new to owning cows, you likely want to learn everything you can about keeping them safe. One of the most common questions we get from cow owners is what animals are known to attack cows and put a herd in danger.
You might be surprised to learn the number of predators is quite high. Below we will lay out all potential threats to your cows.
The 10 Common Predators Of Cattle
Luckily for those that live in the United States, we don’t see a lot of cow-eating anacondas, but they do exist in other parts of the world. The anaconda can’t eat a full-grown cow, so it is unlikely to attack, but there have been reports and even video footage of it occurring.
Bobcat is an animal that you can find in several parts of the United States. It’s an opportunistic hunter and will eat almost anything but usually sticks to small prey like mice, moles, muskrats, birds, and fish. It usually doesn’t attack cows because they are too large to kill and eat, but there are reports of it occurring.
3. Vampire Bat
Another animal we don’t see much of is the vampire bat, and it probably surprises you to see it on this list! These creatures will not eat the cow, but they often attack in large groups, which could drain the cow’s blood to the point of death. These animals don’t actually suck blood; they make an incision and lap it up as the victim bleeds.
Which Animals Eat Cows?
Bears, particularly the black bear and grizzly bear, frequently attack cattle and eat them. Bears are also widespread in North America and live in wooded areas not far from farmlands. There are plenty of reports of attacks from these animals, and there is little farmers can do against the grizzly since they are on the endangered animal’s list.
You can find the cougar throughout the western United States and South America, and it’s one of the biggest predators of cattle with many reports of attacks. The cougar will also eat the cow, especially if it’s in a secluded spot where the cat can eat in peace, and they will even cover it with grass when they finish.
Coyotes are somewhat mean animals that don’t usually bother healthy cows, but will they attack a pregnant one eating both the child and the mother if the rest of the herd cannot prevent it. These animals are quite clever and will work in teams, and will even tiptoe to avoid detection. Coyotes even bring their young live mice to teach them how to hunt, and you can find them anywhere in the United States.
Wild dogs are the most likely to attack cows, and there are still plenty in the United States. A cow is usually too large for one dog, but if they form into a pack, they will attack, and the group will also eat the cow for food. While rare, there are also reports of pet dogs attacking cows, often larger breeds kept for protection.
The tiger is an animal not native to the United States, but it can still be dangerous to cattle farmers in other parts of the world. There are many reports of tigers attacking cattle, and one area lost 13 cows to tigers, and they also threaten the coffee industry in the area as workers are afraid of attack.
Wolves are one of the largest cattle predators in the United States, and the government confirmed data showed they killed nearly 5,000 in 2015 alone. These animals live in groups and will work together to take down cattle for food and kill many sheep. These animals are found all across the northern United States, so you’ll need to be extra careful if you live in this area.
Humans are by far the largest cattle predator. People in the United States ate more than 27 billion pounds of beef in 2019 alone. As our population continues to grow, so does our demand for beef. We’ve even developed more than 250 breeds to help us with our needs.
Unfortunately, there are several predators you need to be concerned about if you have a herd of cattle. If you live in the Northern United States, wolves are your biggest threat, and on the West Coast, it’s likely the cougar. The rest of the country needs to worry about bears and coyotes that might attack, especially in early spring when food is still scarce. While this list might sound like a lot, the threat of predator attack is not extreme and bad weather, slippery terrain, and other common dangers are a much bigger threat.
Featured Image Credit: Piqsels