This text provides a comprehensive account of carnivore social behaviour. Synthesizing more than a decade of research in the wild, it offers a detailed account of the behaviour and ecology of cheetahs. Compared with other large cats, and other mammals, cheetahs have an unusual breeding system; whereas lions live in prides and tigers are solitary, some cheetahs live in groups while others live by themselves. Tim Caro explores group and solitary living among cheetahs and discovers that the causes of social behaviour vary dramatically, even within a single species. Why do cheetah cubs stay with their mother for a full year after weaning? Why do adolescents remain in groups? Why do adult males live in permanent associations with each other? Why do adult females live alone? Through observations on the costs and benefits of group living, Caro offers new insight into the complex behaviour of this species. For example, contrary to common belief about co-operative hunting in large carnivores, he shows that neither adolescents nor adult males benefit from hunting in groups.
With many surprising findings, and through comparisons with other cat species, Caro aims to enrich our understanding of the evolution of social behaviour and offer new perspectives on conservation efforts to save this endangered carnivore.
T. M. Caro is professor in the Center for Population Biology and the Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology, and a member of the Animal Behavior and Ecology graduate groups at the University of California, Davis.