Friday, 22 May 2015

Do Lion's Need To Stretch Before A Hunt

Lioness Stretching, Kenya Safari, Masai Mara, Tsavo, Amboseli, Diani Beach Safari, Wild Kenya Safaris, Dream Kenya, Wildlife Kenya Safari, www.wildkenyasafaris.com
A lioness taking a deep stretch when she wakes up in Kenya



From early childhood memories at P.E class to modern day gym workouts, trainers have always generally advised on the importance of stretching and warming up before any main physical sporty activity. A light warm up is believed to firstly prepare the mind and secondly, loosen up the body's muscles and ligaments to reduce the risk of cramps or other internal injuries.

So the question is ... do lion's, wild dogs or other predators have to stretch before a hunt? 

If you have ever witnessed a hunt happening in real life while on safari or possibly watched it on a wildlife documentary, you can imagine to an extent, the intense amount of physical strain a predators body has to go through as it sprints into high speed action, takes impromptu sharp corners, jumps over uneven obstacles in the park's terrain and finally wrestles down its target while holding on for dear life until the struggling prey finally succumbs to its death. If the hunt was unsuccessful, the lion could take rest, but it would have to be prepared to repeat the whole ordeal once again with literally no notice. All this sounds really physically exhausting isn't it? Yet we never see any predators on the African plains warming before the hunt. Wouldn't their hunting success rate be improved if they actually did do some stretches or warming up like humans do? The answer is... they don't really need to warm up!

Predators are generally in a constant state of motion, unlike human beings who are sitting most of the time in vehicles or their offices. Every time a big cat wakes up from a long nap or short siesta, it takes a really deep stretch. They arch their head and their back fully while extending their front limbs then the hind legs all the way out. After stretching the body, they then get into some remarkable acrobatic positions, twisting and turning as they meticulously begin to clean themselves from paw to tail. After this cleaning is over, its either play time, socializing, maybe some climbing, followed by a walk as they begin to search for food or maybe patrol the territory. 

So with all these day to day movements that big cats do, they don't really need to stretch or warm up at all before a hunt. In fact if they did, the surrounding prey would wisen up and get an early heads up on their predators intentions!

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