By Leigh Kemp
It is believed animals, and in particular predators, can sense fear in human beings making them bolder when confronting by a human. When a human being is scared the bodily actions may betray the situation and/or certain pheromones associated with fear will be released.
It has been explained by some biologists that it is these pheromones that the predator senses and reacts accordingly while other biologists explain that the body movements betray a person's state of mind and it is this that the predator senses. It is true that a lion will seldom attack a human being who is facing up to it whilst standing still.Human beings do learn to understand some animal communication and can identify what the communication means. The question we will discuss here however is whether non-human animals can understand the communication of other non-human animals and the answer is a definite yes.
I have observed a single Hyena tackling an old Buffalo bull that was unable to stand up. The Hyena happened on the old bull by chance and sensing that the Buffalo was in trouble the Hyena began to bite at various parts of the body, moving away each time the bull struggled.
After a while the Buffalo began to bellow at each bite. Within minutes eight more Hyenas were on the scene and the Buffalo was killed quickly. It is also possible that the Hyenas picked up the scent of blood.
The reaction of Antelope to Lions is very interesting. If a Lion is spotted an alarm call is given to warn all the other animals and others will get involved in the calling. When a Lion has been spotted it will usually give up the hunt and move off, followed at a distance by the Antelope. They do this to keep the predator in sight and to see it off.
On other occasions when a Lion is spotted there may be a brief commotion but then the animals will settle down but still keep a wary eye on the predator as it moves past. On these occasions the lion is not interested in hunting and the Antelope seem to be able to sense this. Is this communication in the body posture or is there some other signal exuding from the Lion.