Working versus idle weaponry in the wild
Acinonyx jubatus photo © Rob Kirby
Alcelaphus cokii photo © Dger
The distinction between working and idle weaponry is illustrated by this cheetah attacking a female hartebeest. The cheetah possesses remarkably small weapons, particularly its only pair of sharp claws, which are put to work every time it arrests prey. By contrast, the relatively large weapons (particularly the sharp horns, but also the hooves) of the female hartebeest are idle because she seldom uses them to defend herself or her offspring, or even to fight or play within her species.
Robin and the Honey Badger, 22 March 2016