Baby Animals That Kill Each Other To Reign Supreme In The Crib

These animal babies may look cute, but if you take a closer look, they're vicious. These killer baby animals have the ferociousness to kill their brothers and sisters in order to survive. Scientists may want to call this "instinct," but it's clear the devil is at play here. Fratricide is common within the animal kingdom, and all the species on this list are prime examples of just how savage animals - especially young cubs, chicks, and insects - can truly be. From death by impact, stabbing, eating, stinging, and fighting, these killer baby animals are able to do what humans could never imagine: eat their brothers, sisters, and cousins if they're still hungry. 

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  • Small Golden Eaglets Are Attacked By Older Siblings
    Photo: Johann Jaritz / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    The golden eagle creates huge nests that average 5-6 feet wide and 2 feet high. The fight for survival starts right away for baby eaglets. Since eggs are laid a day or two apart, the first chick to hatch gets the upper hand in the natural selection process. The larger chick will peck and attack the smaller ones while hoarding the majority of food that the parents bring to the nest.

    The second- and third-hatching chicks often fail to live past the first few weeks due to the bullying of their older siblings. You would think the parents might intervene, but eagles don't protect the eaglets from each other. 

  • Interestingly, besides the occasional lion, hyenas don't have many natural predators. Therefore, the tendency for cubs to duke it out inside the burrow is quite handy for regulating hyena populations. Unlike most predatory cats, hyenas are born with open eyes and sharp teeth, which they use to establish dominance over one another. These brawls start at an early age and last for weeks

    Adult hyenas are unable to intervene, as the fighting takes place in the cubs' narrow tunnels, which their mothers can't possibly access. About 25% of hyena cubs are killed by their siblings in their first month of life. 

  • Although they're virtually harmless to humans, sand tiger sharks behave viciously toward each other while still in the womb. Female sand tiger sharks have two wombs and each produces many eggs, which hatch inside the womb. These embryos soon start developing teeth, which they use to eat their brothers and sisters as well as any unfertilized eggs.

    The final outcome is only two survivors, one from each womb. This makes the sand tiger shark the only species on the list to kill its siblings before they're born. By the time they are born, these sharks are natural-born killers. 

  • Female Wasps Eat Their Brothers

    Female Wasps Eat Their Brothers
    Photo: Stsmith / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Copidosoma floridanum is a parasitoid wasp that commits one of the worst fratricides in the animal kingdom. An adult wasp lays one or two eggs inside the egg of a noctuid moth. The eggs quickly clone themselves through a process called polyembryony, which produces somewhere between 1,500-3,000 parasitoid larvae that continue to grow inside the host larva. Out of those larvae, female "soldiers" grow larger than their siblings and defend the reproductive larvae

    These asexual female larvae then seek out their brothers to devour, because only one or two is enough to fertilize their fertile sisters. By doing this, the soldier larvae are able to ensure there's enough food to go around. 

  • The Praying Mantis Loves A Same-Species Snack
    Photo: Oliver Koemmerling / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    The praying mantis is a sexually morbid, cannibalistic invertebrate. A female praying mantis often eats the male after sex. She might even bite her partner's head off during copulation. She then lays her eggs in an egg case attached to a leaf, branch, or stem.

    There are hundreds of baby mantises that hatch at the same time, and their first meal is often one of their siblings.

  • Tiger Salamanders Only Eat Their Siblings And Cousins As A Last Resort

    Tiger Salamanders Only Eat Their Siblings And Cousins As A Last Resort
    Photo: Margaret Mantor / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

    Tiger salamanders begin their life as aquatic larvae, or tadpoles. However, not all are the same and their eggs can develop into two different kinds of tadpoles. Those lucky enough to develop into cannibals grow bigger heads and mouths, as well as larger teeth. 

    As a result, they eat smaller tadpoles and are able to develop more quickly. Perhaps the coolest thing about these slimy slayers is that they can recognize their brothers, sisters, even their first cousins. In light of this, they will go after other tadpoles in the same pond before they attack their own family.