Living in rocky dens that sit at altitudes ranging between 10,000 and 17,000 feet, snow leopards are apex predators of the most unforgiving territory on earth. The snowy highlands of Central Asia, otherwise known as the Himalaya region, are home to these 80-pound cats. Preferring to make their dens on cliffsides and rock outcrops, snow leopards feed primarily on Himalayan blue sheep. In order to kill their prey effectively, these cats use camouflage and speed. It is not uncommon for a snow leopard to leap down the face of steep cliffs in pursuit of prey, and successfully harvest. Snow leopards make their kill last 2 to 3 days.
Human Insight: Embrace the discomfort of the hunt. While humans aren’t built to scale rocky cliff faces and drag 60-pound animals up mountains with our teeth, we are capable hunters. The best lesson we can take away from the snow leopard is persistence in the face of discomfort. Our hardest hunts bring out the best in us, provided we stick it out.
One of the largest reptiles on earth, Nile crocodiles are also one of the oldest living organisms in the world. Crocodiles are perhaps, nature’s most lethal “last man standing.” A croc’s predatory abilities have been honed and perfected through 80-million years of evolution. Weighing in at 1600 pounds, Nile crocodiles can reach lengths of up to 16 feet. Regardless of their massive size, these creatures are ambush predators who will snatch zebras, small hippos, birds, or anything else that comes down to the water to drink. Sensory pits in the croc’s jaw allow the animal to detect movement and vibration in the water. Crocs are notorious for their bite force, once they latch on, they never let go.
Human Insight: We two-leggers are somewhat out of our league in comparison to an 80-million-year-old creature with hunting instincts honed through evolution. But there’s much to be learned when studying the Nile crocodile. Chiefly, that no matter how big you are, you can still be a quiet and effective hunter. And when you do strike, strike hard, fast, and never give up.
The largest member of the wolf family, gray wolves are apex predators in the remote areas of Eurasia and North America. Standing three-feet tall at the shoulder, with adult males weighing in at 180 pounds, these hunters are pack animals who’ve perfected teamwork. Wolves are large, as far as canines go, but they hunt prey that is much larger. What the wolf lacks in size and power, it makes up for with collaboration. Wolf packs can trail an elk herd for days before choosing to strike. Each member of the pack contributes to the hunt according to its ability and experience, with younger wolves waiting in the wings and simply observing hunts in order to learn the process.
Human Insight: Wolves have always been greatly revered as hunters by indigenous people who lived alongside them. It is not only the perseverance and ferocity of the wolf that we as humans can stand to emulate, their ability to communicate and work as a team is paramount to their success and survival.