Horses and Wild Animals

Throughout their existence, horses have been prey animals. Predators have been pursuing and feasting on them for eons, and they continue doing so today, despite the fact that domestication of the horse and the spread of civilization in general

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Throughout their existence, horses have been prey animals. Predators have been pursuing and feasting on them for eons, and they continue doing so today, despite the fact that domestication of the horse and the spread of civilization in general have decreased the range of both hunter and hunted.


Yet in a manner of speaking, there are more predators today. Some are as large as grizzly bears, and some are as small as mosquitoes. Granted, some of these creatures aren’t predators in the true sense, but they are capable of causing a horse’s demise. Instead of hunting a horse down and killing it, they take the more insidious route of infecting it with disease, such as mosquitoes harboring West Nile virus (WNV) or opossums spreading equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM). Other wild animals, such as skunks and raccoons, sometimes carry rabies. One of the newest “predators” is the Eastern tent caterpillar, which has been implicated in fetal loss due to mare reproductive loss syndrome (MRLS).


We’ll examine some animals that are predators in the true sense of the word and evaluate their potential for damage to a horse population, both domestic and wild

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Les Sellnow was a prolific freelance writer based near Riverton, Wyoming. He specialized in articles on equine research, and operated a ranch where he raised horses and livestock. He authored several fiction and nonfiction books, including Understanding Equine Lameness and Understanding The Young Horse. He died in 2023.

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