What are mesopredators? Meso-predators are mid-ranking predators like foxes, raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, etc. What is an apex predator? An apex predator is an animal that is on the top of the food chain, like cougars, lions, tigers, bears, humans, etc. When it comes down to apex predators, most of the time, they have no other natural predators besides themselves.
You might ask, what about Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, what do they have living there? Well, we do have both mesopredators and apex predators.
We don’t have many mesopredators. Bobcats can be considered a mesopredator but they also can be considered an apex predator depending on their environment. A bobcat’s natural predators can consist of cougars, coyotes, and wolves.
Another example of a mesopredator is our office cat, Crook! Regular domesticated house cats are considered mesopredators due to many things being able to hunt them, but they still hunt many things!
We also have some mesopredators that don’t call the refuge “home” but still live in the area. We have lots of raccoons, snakes, and skunks that live in the area. Sometimes we can see them venturing up a little too close to some of the habitats!
TCWR is full of apex predators! Lions, Tigers, a Jaguar, Leopards, Cougars, Black Bears, Brown Bears, and a Hyena! All of these animals are on the top of the food chain and really don’t have other natural predators. Will tigers sometimes kill other tigers? Yes, but they aren’t going out of their way to hunt each other, this only happens when males cross into the wrong territory, or a female is protecting her cubs.
Next time visiting TCWR, you can look at all of our predators we have here and point out the mesopredators from the apex predators!