It's one of my favorite words, as it explains why most predators are so cautious in the wild, and why so many prey species appear to be so lucky.
To be too bold or too aggressive is to be maladaptive. "Too bold is soon cold."
A predator cannot afford damage to muscle, joint, bone, tooth, wing, or talon.
And yet a predator cannot afford to be slow, and cannot always be cautious. At some point is has to eat.
And so the great game begins.
Every flight or run holds within it the possibility of great tragedy -- a torn cruciate ligament, a ripped claw, a shattered beak, a lost eye.
Is it any wonder that lions, tigers, and bears are generally so cautious around men? Most of the time, we represent the unknown, and the unknown always represents the chance of great harm.
It does not take much to undo a top predator.
And yes, they somehow know that.