I was wondering if there were any species that went extinct for being excessively hunted/eaten by predators? I don't mean human hunting. For example, I wish to know if there's a species of frog that are now extinct, because they were driven to extinction by predation by snakes. In fact I'm also OK with examples where a species/class of plant or grass went extinct due to overgrazing? I want to know because I've always heard people say "Nature corrects itself" or "hunting is under control in the natural environment" etc. Is this argument valid?

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    $\begingroup$ >I've always heard people say "Nature corrects itself" or "hunting is under control in the natural environment" I wouldn't say that extinction of a species necessarily goes against that. You could call it a 'natural event', and not a problem. $\endgroup$
    – Bwmat
    Apr 16, 2017 at 5:13
  • $\begingroup$ nearly all pre human extinct prey animals must have perished also due to excessive predation. most striking is cats and rats and rabbits through human introduction, for example preying on flightless birds of NZ or natural bridge crossing, which is too long ago to map precisely. like mammals arrived in america, nearly all the marsupials of old america vanished, preyed and outcompeted. $\endgroup$ Nov 22, 2017 at 9:06

2 Answers 2


The Brown Tree snake (Boiga irregularis) is responsible for five extinctions on the island of Guam. Some of these species existed only on Guam, while others exist elsewhere and so it is the Guam subspecies that has been lost.

Guam flycatcher (Myiagra freycineti). Last sighted in 1983.

Guam rail (Gallirallus owstoni) is extinct in the wild, but is now bred in captivity and has been introduced to the island of Rota.

Guam kingfisher (Todiramphus cinnamominus) is also extinct in the wild and exists only in a captive breeding program.

Guam flying fox (Pteropus tokudae). Went extinct in the late 1960's possibly as a result of the Brown Tree snake.

I had a suprisingly difficult time obtaining accurate lists of the Guam extinctions.

For an example of overgrazing leading to a local extinction, see St. Matthew island in the Bering Sea. The US Coast Guard introduced reindeer in 1944. By 1963 there were ~6,000. Without any natural predation to control the population, they are considered to have overgrazed, causing a population collapse to 42 by 1965 and no reindeer population by the 1980's.

  • $\begingroup$ Could you add your sources to your answer? $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    May 30, 2017 at 18:52

WHen new connections form between formerly isolated land masses there is usually a drastic shift in the ecosystem as new hunters and herbivores enter that the native animals have no defense for. Snakes, and rats are not native to many islands, when introduced they often decimate local animals. The same thing happens when humans introduce species. See the brown tree snake in Guam or rabbits in Australia or nile perch in lake Victoria.


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