Why Do Animals Eat Their Babies?

Why Do Animals Eat Their Babies?

Sometimes, it makes sense for critters across the animal kingdom to chow down on their own young.

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If you enjoyed this video, you might want to check out this one by Jesse Agar: Why kill a baby? – (send some love from us)


FYI: We try to leave jargon out of our videos, but if you want to learn more about this topic, here are some handy keywords to get your googling started:
– Filial cannibalism: is a form of infanticide that occurs when an adult individual of a species consumes all or part of the young of its own species or immediate offspring.

Species featured in this video:
– Hamsters (Cricetinae family)
– Assassin bug (Rhinocoris tristis)
– Red Tailed Monkeys (Cercopithecus ascanius)
– Long Tailed Skink (Eutropis longicaudata)
– Egg-eating snake (Oligodon formosanus)
– Sand goby (Pomatoschistus minutus)


Credits (and Twitter handles):
Script Writer: Rachel (@RA_Becks)
Script Editor: Alex Reich (@alexhreich)
Video Illustrator: Ever Salazar (@eversalazar)
Video Director: Emily Elert (@eelert)
Video Narrator: Emily Elert (@eelert)
With Contributions From: Henry Reich, Kate Yoshida, Peter Reich, David Goldenberg
Music by: Nathaniel Schroeder:


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Special thanks to Professor Hope Klug, from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, for help with research on this video!

Day, C. S., & Galef, B. G. (1977). Pup cannibalism: One aspect of maternal behavior in golden hamsters. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 91(5), 1179-1189. doi:10.1037/h0077386

Gilbert, W. M., Nolan, P. M., Stoehr, A. M., & Hill, G. E. (2005). Filial Cannibalism at a House Finch Nest. The Wilson Bulletin, 117(4), 413-415. doi:10.1676/04-003.1
Full text:

Huang, W. (2008). Predation risk of whole-clutch filial cannibalism in a tropical skink with maternal care. Behavioral Ecology, 19(6), 1069-1074.
Full text:

Klug, H., & Bonsall, M. (2007). When to Care for, Abandon, or Eat Your Offspring: The Evolution of Parental Care and Filial Cannibalism. The American Naturalist, 170(6), 886-901. doi:10.1086/522936

Klug, H., & Lindstrom, K. (2008). Hurry-up and hatch: Selective filial cannibalism of slower developing eggs. Biology Letters, 4(2), 160-162. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2007.0589

Why do some fish eat their own eggs? – Phys.org. (n.d.). Retrieved October 19, 2016, from

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