Carnivorous Animals – Examples and Curiosities
As its name indicates, carnivorous animals that can be vertebrates or invertebrates are those that feed mainly on meat , whether living or dead animals. The word “carnivore” comes from the Latin carnivorus , which literally means “meat-eater”, and in ecological terms it is called zoófagos.
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If you want to know more about carnivorous animals with examples and curiosities , do not miss this YourCatCareguide article in which we will teach you everything you need to know about these animals, which are at the top of the food chain.
Types and classification of carnivorous animals
There are 2 types of carnivorous animals depending on how they get their food and are predators and butchers .
Predator carnivores are those animals that hunt their prey (usually herbivorous animals), observing them and chasing them until they reach them. In contrast, carnivorous butchers, such as vultures or hyenas, are those animals that take advantage of the remains of dead animals that have been hunted by the pedlers or have died of some disease. In short, carnivorous predators feed on living flesh and dead butchers.
However, there are some specific names to call those animals that feed on only one type of living thing, such as insectivores or entomophages that eat only insects (like spiders), or piscivorous fish-eaters (such as pelicans) .
In addition, and although they are not considered animals, there are also other living beings that eat only meat like the carnivorous plants like the dinosaea or the carnivorous fungi.
However, not all carnivorous animals eat exclusively meat and that is why we will show this classification of sub-species of carnivorous animals according to the degree of ingestion of the same:
- Strict carnivores : those animals that feed exclusively on meat since they do not have the necessary organs to digest plant foods. These consume more than 70% of meat in the total of their diet, for example the tigers.
- Flexible carnivores : those animals that normally eat meat but your body is adapted to digest plant foods from time to time.
- Occasional carnivores : those omnivorous animals that because of scarcity of vegetables are obliged to consume only meat during a certain period of time. These consume less than 30% of meat in their total diet, such as raccoons .
Characteristics of carnivorous animals
The main characteristic of carnivorous animals is that they have a shorter digestive tractthan the other species, since the meat takes longer to digest, this begins a process of putrefaction that could cause many diseases in the animal (this also happens with the human beings when they eat meat, since our digestive system is longer and looks more like that of herbivorous animals) and, besides, they do not have to decompose the cellulose of the vegetables.
Another of the characteristics of carnivorous animals, especially predators, is that they have a number of specialized organs to chase, hunt, catch and tear their prey such as their claws, teeth, a strong jaw, a good sense of smell, an athletic and muscular body as in the case of felines, or even organs that secrete venom to immobilize or kill their tusks with their teeth, like venomous snakes.
Examples of carnivorous animals
Next, we’ll show you some examples of carnivorous animals that we can find all over the planet:
Within mammals, which are those warm-blooded animals that feed their offspring through the production of milk secreted by mammary glands, the main carnivores are all felines , such as the tiger, the lion, the puma or the domestic cat. Also carnivorous mammals are some canids such as wolves or coyotes, or even domestic dogs, although there is a debate around this theme. We also have hyenas , some mustelids such as ferrets, some bats and all cetaceans( whales and dolphins) are also carnivores.
As for the reptiles, which are those vertebrate animals with epidermal scales of keratin, the carnivores are all of the family Crocodylidae , in which are alligators and crocodiles , all the coppers and some turtles like sea turtles.
Fish and amphibians
The carnivorous fish par excellence are sharks like whale sharks , and fish osteichthyes like spider fish or eels. In amphibians we find frogs, frogs and salamanders.
Within birds we can differentiate birds of prey or day and night birds of prey. In the daytime birds of prey we find the eagles or the hawks, and in nocturnal birds of prey we find the owls or the owls. Also the penguins and the pelicans are examples of carnivorous animals. And we can not forget the vultures, great scavengers.
And last but not least, some examples of carnivorous invertebrate animals, that is, they do not have a skeletal bone, are some crustaceans, all mollusks, such as octopuses, some gastropods and also spiders, scorpions and some insects like wasps or mantis.
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