Can animals change their place in a food chain



  1. 0 Votes

    Interesting question, hogan.  Food chains go from producers to higher and higher levels of consumers.  Higher level consumers have a significant advantage over the lower tiers, so there is generally no threat for any consumers to switch places on the chain.  This is not to say that it is physically impossible for a mouse to ever kill a snake, because it has probably happened before somewhere, but generally, the cards are always stacked in favor of the higher level consumer.

    Animals that may be preying on each other would fall under a food web.  Below is a diagram of a food web, where we see spiders and predacious insects consume each other.

    Hope this helps!

  2. 0 Votes

    Like jeffb explained, it does not usually happen. I can think a few scenarios that could change an animal’s place in the food chain. A disappearance (extinction) of the top predator(s) would move up the animals in the chain that were below them towards the top, which would bring a lot of changes to the ecosystem. If you look at that picture of a food web, if snakes are gone then toads have nobody to prey on them and become the apex predator of their food chain (plants –> herbivorous insects –> predaceous insects –> toads).

    Another possibility lies in evolution. A good example are the Galapagos Finches made famous by Charles Darwin. There are 15 distinct species of them that each evolved from a single common ancestor to consume a different source of food, thus placing themselves into new separate food chains. An animal may evolve to be too large for its former predators – think Sauropod dinosaurs – while the latter will grow in size to catch up with its prey.

  3. 0 Votes

    With habitat destruction, the introduction of invasive species, and species being lost to disease, some animals are changing places in the food web/chain. For example, in Central America where amphibians are declining because of disease, animals that previously fed on amphibians (snakes, birds, mammals) have to find something else to eat or they may die. Generalists are depending more on lizards, birds, snakes, small mammals. This may cause a shift among the predators, or even a trophic cascade where the food chain falls apart because a link is missing!

  4. 0 Votes

    The animal itself isn’t able to change it’s position on the food chain. For example a sea lion will not decide to start hunting great white sharks. Natural and unnatural changes in the environment can contribute to a changes in the food chain. Hunting and extinction of species may cause and animal to move in the food chain.


  5. 0 Votes

    Many animals change position on the food chain throughout their lives as a function of the stages of physical development. The tadpole, for instance, is an herbivore, eating algae and plants. The adult frog, however, is a predator, eating live insects.

  6. 0 Votes

    i think you can i just playing yes you can

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