Skip to main content

Top 5 Solitary Predators: Dangerous Lone Hunters in the Wild

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

Bryan loves biology. He likes to research various animal types and categorize them based on their exceptional traits.

These five solitary hunters are terrifying predators that you wouldn't want to find yourself alone with! Read on to find out the scientific names and a few cool facts about each.

These five solitary hunters are terrifying predators that you wouldn't want to find yourself alone with! Read on to find out the scientific names and a few cool facts about each.

What Is a Solitary Predator?

By definition, solitary means "alone," while predator means "an animal that hunts other animals for food" or simply "hunter." Some carnivores (meat-eating animals) such as lions and wild dogs hunt in packs, but most are solitary hunters. Most predators are carnivores; however, some omnivores (animals that eat both plants and animals) are also top predators.

This article will look at the top five solitary predators on earth, starting with the tiger.

The Top 5 Lone Predators: Animals That Hunt Alone

  1. Tiger
  2. Great White Shark
  3. Golden Eagle
  4. Polar Bear
  5. Nile Crocodile
A tiger carrying its prize back to her cubs

A tiger carrying its prize back to her cubs

1. Tiger

  • Scientific Name: Panthera tigris
  • Interesting Fact: The tiger is actually the largest of the big cats, not the lion!

What makes the tiger a top predator? Packed with sharp teeth, sharp claws, a powerful bite, and tremendous speed, the tiger is one of the most feared predators on land. In fact, it has hardly any enemies in the territories it roams, unless it bumps into another tiger!

Besides all those deadly predatory weapons, the tiger is also armed with another equally important weapon—stealth. When the tiger spots a potential meal, it does not chase the prey right away. Instead, it camouflages itself with the grass and slowly sneaks up on the prey. By the time the prey notices the tiger, it will be already too late to escape!

The GWS breaching after attacking a seal from below with ferocious speed

The GWS breaching after attacking a seal from below with ferocious speed

2. Great White Shark

  • Scientific Name: Carcharodon carcharias
  • Interesting Fact: Despite its name, the great white shark isn't all white. The upper part of the body is actually greyish, while the lower part is white. But still, it is great!

Made famous by Steven Spielberg's 1975 motion picture Jaws, the great white shark has instilled fear in many people. Despite its reputation as a mean human-killing machine, the great white does not generally intentionally attack humans. Most recorded attacks were not fatal because the shark only wanted to "taste" the human out of curiosity. Still, it is a formidable predator in the sea.

The great white has a streamlined, torpedo-shaped body, making it one of the fastest swimmers in the sea. Its mouth is also packed with about 300 serrated, triangular teeth arranged in several rows.

Armed with organs that can sense the tiny electromagnetic fields generated by animals, the great white has such a remarkable sense of smell that it can "smell" its prey from a kilometer away! When it lunges at the prey from below at full force, not even the world's best veterinarian could save the poor victim!

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Owlcation

A golden eagle perched regally

A golden eagle perched regally

3. Golden Eagle

  • Scientific Name: Aquila chrysaetos
  • Interesting Fact: While the bald eagle is the national bird of the United States, the golden eagle is Mexico's!

All eagles are excellent airborne predators, but the golden eagle is definitely one of the best and is also the largest bird of prey in North America.

Armed with sharp talons, acute eyesight, a razor-sharp beak, and airborne speed advantage, the golden eagle preys mainly on rabbits, marmots, and ground squirrels. They also eat carrion, reptiles, birds, fish, and smaller fare such as large insects. In some cases, they have even been known to attack a full-grown deer!

More often than not, small prey would have a hard time escaping from the deadly talons of the golden eagle unless they're lucky enough to find a hole to hide inside in time before the eagle snatches them away. Luckily, we humans are not small!

The polar bear with its prize—a seal

The polar bear with its prize—a seal

4. Polar Bear

  • Scientific Name: Ursus maritimus
  • Interesting Fact: The polar bear is the largest bear and the largest terrestrial carnivore on earth!

What makes a polar bear a top predator? Living in the icy cold northern region of the earth, the polar bear has sheer white fur, enabling it to camouflage itself in the surrounding snow and ice.

Polar bears are good swimmers, but they can run at high speed on land as well! They are also armed with powerful paws and sharp claws. Most of the time, one whack of their paw is enough to put an end to their victim's life.

However, worry not; they prey mainly on seals, but still, they are known to attack humans. Besides active hunting, when opportunities present themselves, they will also feed on carcasses of deers and even whales.

The wildebeest has no chance against this Nile croc!

The wildebeest has no chance against this Nile croc!

5. Nile Crocodile

  • Scientific Name: Crocodylus niloticus
  • Interesting Fact: The Nile crocodile is the largest crocodilian in Africa, sometimes reaching 20 feet (6 meters) long!

The Nile crocodile is truly a fearsome predator. Although it lives with other members of its species in the same habitat, they often do not cooperate or team up for a kill (but they do vie for the same meals).

What makes the Nile crocodile a top predator? The Nile crocodile is truly the master of stealth and patience. It can wait in the waterhole for hours and hours with only its eyes and nostrils above the water surface and its entire body submerged. It will only strike when the opportunity arises.

When animals such as boars, zebras, wildebeests, antelopes, and water buffaloes come too close to the waterhole to take a sip, the croc will slowly move to them without being noticed at all. When it is close enough, one thrash of its powerful tail propels it out of nowhere and bites the surprised prey with its powerful jaw!

Then, the unfortunate prey will be dragged into the water until it drowns—and then it will be feasting time for the croc!

What do you think? What's your favorite solitary predator?

Zaton-Taran from California on June 26, 2017:

The African lion is a truly majestic beast that captures the imagination. I love any and all things about the lion.

georgeadri69 on April 11, 2012:

You forgot to add my dog, prekinezer. :) Just kiding, very good lens.

pawpaw911 on April 11, 2012:

Nature is very cruel sometimes, but life goes on.

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on April 10, 2012:

Until I read this article, I hadn't realized just how much I admire the predators. They truly are beautiful creations even if they are mean as the dickens :) I guess it is all about survival though.

gatornic15 on April 08, 2012:

Great lens!

goo2eyes lm on April 08, 2012:

@BryanLSC: you are right. writing @ squidoo is just fun and readers should have great sense of humor or understanding and not just being so serious. got almost the same reaction towards my R-lens.

goo2eyes lm on April 08, 2012:

i settle for the golden eagle. thank you.

Natalie W Schorr on April 04, 2012:

Excellent lens!

BryanLSC (author) on September 13, 2011:

@liam999: Chill out guys, it's only a lens on predatory animals that are good in their hunting skills. That's all. I, by no means, are discrediting man as a superior being on Earth. Whether we're animals or not is a whole other matter. So chill out and just enjoy my lens. There's no need for argument over whatever human does, thanks! ;)

On another note, I think liam999 should really write a whole new lens on his amazing page-long opinion. What a waste of talent if you didn't! I'm looking forward to seeing your lens!

liam999 on September 12, 2011:

@anonymous: Sadly many people nowadays are of the same opinion as yourself. However, Don't be too harsh on man. Man belongs here. People speak as though man is an alien species and his only purpose is to destroy the planet. the problem for man is that he is essentially a progressive and creative creature but in order to create and progress he must necessarily destroy.What man seeks to achieve is to destroy but in such a way as to not also destroy what is essential to himself, namely nature. So it is in man's nature to destroy, for he must do so in order to thrive, and thrive he must because he belongs here. Animals are not creative (rational) creatures, hence they cannot progress along with man, thus man must bear this in mind whilst trying to progress in a meaningful way. So both man and all other living things do both belong here. It is our heritage and our birthright. your contempt for man is misguided for man must surely make mistakes unfortunately nature bears much of the consequences. but don't worry. there is no 'will"

in nature; only man and only he has the will (power) to change. Nature changes because its essence is change. nature is destroyed all of the time in this process and man also shares in this process. but because he is moral (rational) only man is blameworthy when he willfully acts against his own interests with regard to nature (wildlife etc.) Therefore, man is truly a member of the living community of all things on Earth. But he has bound himself excessively to science (the source of change for man and the destruction in nature) in his pursuit of science and knowledge man must necessarily destroy her. So all of scientists when they protest against the environment are only protesting their own existence and their own humanity. And that is not their place in the order of things. Man is a noble being because he is Rational. Animals are not ennobled thus. Everything is destroyed because everything changes; that's what change is; destruction.

ellagis on September 12, 2011:

I think those you mentioned are great predators all, but I've chosen tigers because I have a real passion for felines!

anilsaini on September 12, 2011:

oh dear!!! what a collection,good

anonymous on September 10, 2011:

My opinion sadly is not listed on your charts! Man, is in my opinion, the greatest predator and the worst poison to the delicate ecosystem! :(

For man to evolve... thinking should stop and realization should.... well, be realized! :)

Related Articles