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In ethology Ambush predators or sit-and-wait predators are carnivorous animals that capture prey by stealth or cunning, not by speed or necessarily by strength. These organisms usually hide motionless and wait for prey to come within striking distance. They are often camouflaged, and may be solitary. This mode of predation may be most efficient when a predator cannot move faster than its preferred prey; otherwise, active hunting is more efficient. [1]

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It can, however, save energy for a predator that exploits predictable paths for prey, as with cats of all sizes and become an attractive strategy. Ambush predators include many fish, snakes, and other reptiles (e.g. crocodiles), as well as some mammals, birds, and spiders.


  1. Inon Scharf, Einat Nulman, Ofer Ovadia & Amos Bouskila (2006). Efficiency evaluation of two competing foraging modes under different conditions. The American Naturalist 168 (3): 350–357.

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