I would like to expose my kid to a lot of different animals quite early on (starting from 2-3 years), mostly through telling them about it and showing photos/pictures. Even though screen would be limited, I would like to show them wildlife shows too, like those on NatGeo and animal planet. (Not a parent yet, this is all just a plan)
But I started wondering if and when this would be appropriate for kids when I was watching one such show with my 3 year old nephew. They first showed a mother owl and her chicks, and how she goes out to look for food for them. He related to that pretty well, observing thats the way things work with people too. Suddenly, a bald eagle swoops down on the mother owl and makes a meal out of her.
He's seen wild animals eating other animals before, and didn't get too worked up over it, though he did seem surprised. But this was different because it had a familial structure that he could relate to. He seemed very distressed as he asked what will happen to the baby owls now, they're waiting for their mother! He was about to cry when I blurted out that this was probably a different owl, and that the mother owl is fine. Disaster averted.
He hasn't had to deal with death yet, but he seems to know that when you end up as a meal to another animal, you're not coming back anymore. Now, when I raise my own toddler, should I wait for him to be familiar with the concept of death and how its the natural way of things before showing him shows like this which depict animals hunting each other? What age/developmental milestone would be appropriate? How do I handle stressful situations arising from this?
P.S: There are many questions on here about dealing with death, but I find that the deaths associated with natural food chain of animals in the wild is very different from dealing with the death of a person or a pet.