I did a bit of research and noted that some animals such as alligators can indeed digest humans. However, in a lot of cases, they actively avoid humans (bears, alligators, boas). Intellectually, yes humans are responsible for a lot of stuff (e.g. guns and habitat destruction), but on an animal's level, we're just a walking sack of meat with legs and arms.

This question sort of hinges on the idea that it would take too long a while for evolution to tell animals to avoid humans such that they're doing it now (feel free to tell me otherwise with an explanation as to how).

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    $\begingroup$ Tell that to Tanzanians. Predatory animals don't avoid humans. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 6, 2021 at 5:08

1 Answer 1


First, I think you have a major misconception about prey selection being entirely evolutionary and driven by instinct. Animals learn. Mammals, in particular, learn from their parents and/or other pack members, as well as from personal experience. So wolves, lions, or other large predators develop a culture of humans not being good prey.

Second, many predatory animals tend to be opportunistic hunters. They want to acquire their dinner at minimum cost to themselves. They don't want to risk injury by engaging in a stand-up fight with something of comparable size. Adult humans are pretty large creatures.

Third, and perhaps the most important, is that humans have learned to deal with large predators. Even before the invention of modern weapons, they learned to avoid places where the predators might lurk. For instance, if you visit Florida or parts of northern Australia, you're well-advised not to go swimming. Even so, there are about 1000 deaths per year from crocodiles & alligators: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crocodile_attack

  • $\begingroup$ Its also worth noting humans have put some extremely strong pressure against predators that seem humans as prey and live near humans, Its worth noting predators that attack humans are wither hard to kill (semi or fully aquatic) live in places humans rarely live, or are extinct or close to it. humans have wiped out dozens of large predator species. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Sep 6, 2021 at 0:20
  • $\begingroup$ In support of learned behavior, animals that attack or kill humans (e.g. grizzlies) are hunted and destroyed, because, well, they tend to repeat that behavior once learned. If they weren't destroyed, there might be a whole lot more predators of humans around. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 6, 2021 at 4:51
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    $\begingroup$ @anongoodnurse: The learning works the other way, too. Consider dogs and skunks. Most of my dogs have had a skunk encounter when fairly young. Almost all of them learned not to repeat it. (Except my current dog, who needed two. But then, he's not the smartest puppy in the litter. Still chases bears, despite a rather unpleasant experience with one.) So even if the predator is just driven off, rather than killed by humans, it learns that there are easier meals to be had. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Sep 6, 2021 at 16:44

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