Cannibalism in the Animal Kingdom: Is it Terrible or a Natural Behavior?

Cannibalism can be seen in some animals. Some of the animals in the wild are eating their own offspring such as bears, cats, some dog breeds, fish etc. However, there are different reasons for this behavior.

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Cannibalism In Dogs Is Very Rare

Cannibalism in dogs (eating their own offspring) is rare. However, it has been reported that it can be seen in some breeds. It was reported that the ratio is 1/100 in the Anatolian Shepherd breed, which is a breed of pure-bred dog.

Anatolian Shepherd breeders demanded a scientific investigation on the cause of this situation. Ankara University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine faculty members conducted a scientific research. Dr. Mustafa Kockaya, Assoc. Dr. Nazli Ercan and Assoc. Dr. Yasemin Salgirli Demirbas revealed the reason for this behavior in a result of a scientific study which is the first in its area.

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As a result of this scientific research, it was determined that one of every 100 Anatolian Shepherd eats iits offsprings, it was found out that this behavior was caused by hormone deficiency.


Maternal cannibalism is the behavior of mothers to eat their offspring. In this study, some Kangal dogs have eaten all 10 day pups.

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“Our study took 5 years because there was a survey process. We thought that the mothers were doing this in order to maintain the purity of the Kangal dogs. So our process has been prolonged.

We were faced with an unknown situation. Also there was no one in the world working in this field. But after our research, we saw that it appeared in many dog breeds.” reported the scholars.

A camera was placed in the dogs’ huts to observe their behavior. It was seen that the mother dogs displayed behaviors towards anxiety. Mother Dogs initially licked their offspring,biting them then they were eating their own offspring completely.

Find about more interesting facts about behaviors of other species from here.

Last Updated on December 2, 2021 by William Lindberg

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Marilyn Walker

I am studying in Florida about Dialectic Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I'm doing research on Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET), Cognitive psychology, Metacognitive Therapy.
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