I think there are no predators that use clubs to hunt, maybe the closest thing is the mantis shrimp, but I think the killing factor are the waves produced and this happens in a very little size scale.

Some herbivore animals use blunt force for defense, examples like horses kicks with hoofs, the ankylosaurus' club tail and the pachycephalosaurus head, all them look like very harmful and effective attacks.

So, is it viable for a predator to use clubs as hunting tools or is there a reason why this hasn't evolved yet?

It can be considered any part of the body for terms of this question.

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    $\begingroup$ thre are several predators that use clubs to hunt, see the harlequin mantis shrimp, basically you need prey that can't run away to make it work. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Aug 24, 2021 at 3:48
  • $\begingroup$ I think humans are tool using predators. Maybe not apex predators but we certainly hunt and eat meat. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 24, 2021 at 18:21

2 Answers 2


Knockback and armor

Prey is usually non cooperative with predators that want to eat them. Capturing them goes a long way into getting them in your stomach. To that end, predators usually have sharp parts such as talons, fangs or claws that help securing food.

Blunt attacks, on the other hand, may have a knockback effect that sends your prey away from you. It also tends to cause prey to evolve armor, and it is easier to protect from blunt attacks than from piercing or cutting ones. That is why this form of attack is rare.

If you are going to go this way, you'd better be able to kill your prey with one hit. One example of predator that does this is orcas. Here is a video of an orca rendering a dolphin paralytic with raw blunt force. In this way, despite not grasping the dolphin with the attack the orca has no trouble catching the dolphin after that.


I broadly agree with The Square-Cube Law but I have an example that's different enough I think it warrants it's own answer, since it's kind of the opposite: the peregrine falcon

the peregrine falcon strikes its prey with a clenched foot, stunning or killing it with the impact, then turns to catch it in mid-air.[70] If its prey is too heavy to carry, a peregrine will drop it to the ground and eat it there. If they miss the initial strike, peregrines will chase their prey in a twisting flight.[71] Although previously thought rare, several cases of peregrines contour-hunting, i.e. using natural contours to surprise and ambush prey on the ground, have been reported and even rare cases of prey being pursued on foot

Source is wikipedia

The examples in the OP are both prey animals that use blunt weapons defensively, but are also large and heavy. TCL's example is very large and incredibly strong. I think falcons illustrate how an extremely fast and agile predator can nonetheless benefit from blunt attacks.

Instead of thinking in terms of haymakers and clubs, your critters can float like butterflies and sting like bees. Bonus points if they go 200mph.

There are also mantis shrimp known as "clubbers" but their claws can still have sharp bits. There may be viable examples, but I'm not prepared for the deep dive it would take to be more particular. But I've seen one karate chop a crab's claw off, for what that's worth.

  • $\begingroup$ Excellent first post Blue (may I call you Blue?). Welcome to worldbuilding. (From review). $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 20:47
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    $\begingroup$ Some folks call be Blue, others call me Booby, still others BFB. I have no preference, as long as the nickname isn't foot-centric. Also, thank you. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 21:26
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    $\begingroup$ This really is an excellent answer! Smashing attacks are great and all, but combine that with speed and agility and you have could have quite the predator....too fast to dodge, too agile to miss, too strong to take a hit from.... $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 1:50

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