Animals

Carnivorans

Cougar or mountain lion or puma or pantherCarnivorans are members of the order Carnivora, a group of placental mammals that are very well adapted for hunting and killing other animals.

Carnivorans have strong, sharp claws. They have four or five toes on each foot.

They have large, sharp, canine teeth, known as fangs, that are used to hold food and tear it apart. Fangs are also be used as weapons.

WalrusWhile many mammals have flat molar teeth that they use for grinding, the molars of carnivores are modified so that they can be used for tearing flesh.

The first molar on the bottom and the last premolar on top are sharp and slide past each other like scissor blades. They are known as carnassial teeth.

American black bearThe other molars are usually either missing or very small.

Most carnivorans have three pairs of incisors - teeth with straight cutting edges that are used for tearing and biting.

Carnivorans usually live on land, but carnivorans known as pinnipeds spend most of their lives in the ocean. Seals, sea lions and walruses are pinnipeds.

The word "pinniped" is Latin for "fin foot".

Despite their name, not all carnivorans are carnivores (meat eaters), and not all carnivorous mammals are carnivorans.

Ferret, a member of the weasel familySome carnivorans, such as cats and weasels, are obligate carnivores. They do not have the ability to digest plant matter efficiently and are completely dependent on the nutrients found in meat.

Others, such as bears and raccoons are omnivores - they eat both animal and vegetable matter.

The giant panda is almost exclusively herbivorous (vegetarian). Its diet consists almost entirely of bamboo, a type of grass.

1 Badger Marcia Malory 1472
2 Red Fox – Caring for Young Marcia Malory 2634