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Nature Notebook – Mobbing

Birds are well known for their mobbing behavior. Individuals of a prey species will band together to harass, or even attack, a predator that has invaded their territory. Other animals also employ this anti-predation strategy.

Mobbing species seem to live in close-knit social groups or tolerate geographically close neighbors.

Dolphins and porpoises aggressively chase sharks. Bluegill fish in a spawning colony will not tolerate a snapping turtle in their area. The fish, males and females alike, will swim as a large group behind the turtle until it leaves the area. Some males will give threat displays but none actually attack the turtle.

California ground squirrels will try to deter their predators (rattlesnakes and gopher snakes) by boldly approaching the snakes and kicking sand at them. Apparently, this interferes with the snakes’ hunting senses. Male red colobus monkeys will challenge their main predator, the chimpanzee, by forming a monkey-wall in front of their females and juveniles. The monkeys then jump as one unit and bite the chimpanzee until it leaves.

The power of the “people” can be remarkably effective!