Although the term carnivore refers to members of the order Carnivore Animal, also commonly used to describe animal the eats meat. While most members of the group eat meat, some have a mixed diet or are entirely herbivorous. Carnivore Animal Meat-eating carnivores are the dominant predators on land in all habitats: their bodies and lifestyles are highly adapted for hunting. However, there is great variety within the group, which includes species as diverse as the giant panda and the walrus. Carnivore Animal Uniquely among mammals, carnivores have 4 carnassial teeth. They also have a penis bone (baculum). Indigenous to most parts of the world, carnivores have also been introduced to Australasia.
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Carnivore Animal include some of nature’s most skilful and efficient predators. Most use keen senses of sight, hearing, or smell to locate prey, which they catch either by pouncing from a concealed place or by stalking and then running down their quarry in a lengthy chase or swift rush. Carnivore Animal Many can kill animals larger than themselves. Weasels kill by biting the back of the head and cracking the skull, while cats bite into the neck, damaging the spinal cord, or into the throat, causing suffocation. Though some carnivores are solitary, others hunt in packs.
The bobcat, which feeds mainly on small prey such as the snowshoe hare, hunts alone.
Carnivore Animal Although carnivores vary considerably in size and shape, most share several features that make them well suited to a hunting lifestyle. A typical terrestrial carnivore is a fast and agile runner with sharp teeth and claws, acute hearing and eyesight, and a well-developed sense of smell. Carnassial teeth (see below) are present in predacious living carnivores but are less well developed among omnivorous, herbivorous, and some piscivorous species. Carnivores have either 4 or 5 digits on each limb. Members of the cat family have sharp, retractable claws used to rake prey, defend themselves, and climb. Most other carnivores have non-retractable claws, often used for digging.
JAWS AND TEETH
Most carnivores have sharp teeth and powerful jaws for killing and disembowelling prey. The temporalis muscles, which are most effective when the jaws are open, are used to deliver a powerful stab from the sharp canines. The carnassial teeth are sharpened molars in the upper and lower jaws. They act like scissors and slice through hide and flesh, and are used to crush bone to0.In combination with the masseter muscles, which can be used when the jaw is almost completely closed, they form lower a powerful shearing tool for tearing flesh.
SKELETON AND MOVEMENT
Predatory terrestrial carnivores have physical adaptations that enable them to move quickly over the ground in pursuit of prey. The spine is generally flexible, the limbs are relatively long, and the collarbone is reduced, maximizing the mobility of the shoulders. To help increase the length of their stride and add stability all carnivores have fused wrist bones, and dogs and cats walk on their toes (rather than the soles of the feet).
HUNTING IN PACKS
Lions generally hunt in groups to capture large animals. The females (males rarely join in) usually stalk to within 30m (98 ft and encircle the prey. After a short charge, the animal is brought down with a grab to the flank, then killed by suffocation with a bite to the throat
Although many carnivores live alone or in pairs, others form groups that take different forms, and have complex structures. Lion prides, for example, consist of several related families, although most males leave the pride into which they are born. Lions spend most of their time together, hunt cooperatively, and tend each other’s young. In most other groups individual ties are looser. Red and Arctic foxes live in groups of one adult male and several vixens, but each adult hunts alone in a different part of the group’s territory. Elephant seals gather in large numbers only during breeding. The groups are made up of several males and their respective harems of females, which are closely guarded.
Young carnivores develop their fighting skills through play. By playing together, these red foxes learn to test another animal’s strength without suffering painful consequences.
These young slender-tailed meerkats are not necessarily the offspring of the adult watching over them. Sharing parental duties is common in many carnivore societies.
Most carnivores live on a diet of freshly killed animal prey, ranging in size from insects, other invertebrates, and small vertebrates to animals as large as buffaloes and reindeer. Carnivores are generally adaptable feeders, seldom restricting themselves to a single food type. However, there are specialists – for example, there are pinniped species that eat only fish. Others, such as bears, badgers, and foxes, eat a mixed diet of meat and plants, while a few, notably the giant panda, are almost entirely herbivorous.
Hyenas feed on live prey and the remains of other animals’ kills. Their particularly sharp teeth and strong jaws enable them to break bones and tendons that are too tough for other carnivores.
Carnivores communicate with each other with scent-markings, visual signals, and vocalizations. Scent messages, which have the advantage of being persistent, are used to define territory or to find potential sexual partners. They are left by spraying urine or leaving piles of faeces, although some animals also rub scent onto objects from glands on their face, between their claws, or at the base of their tail. When animals meet face-to- face, posture, facial expression, and sound are used to pass on a wealth of information, including threats, submissions advances to partners, and warnings of approaching danger.
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