Carnivores are animals that exclusively eat meat. They are often hunters, although some only eat carrion meat. Such animals are called opportunistic carnivores.
Some animals that are carnivores are also apex predators, so they are not to be messed with!
Animals that eat meat and vegetables are considered omnivores rather than carnivores, although some animals that eat mostly meat with occasional vegetables will often be called carnivores in layman conversation.
Examples of Animals that are Carnivores
1. African Palm Civets
|Scientific Name||Nandinia binotata|
Native to Subsaharan Africa, the civet is a nocturnal animal that feeds on smaller animals in its habitat.
|Range||the United States from North Carolina to the Rio Grande in Texas|
|Habitat||Lakes and Rivers|
Alligators feed on fish, turtles, and even ungulates like deer who come to lakes for water. The alligator will lie in the water with only its eyes above the surface so potential prey cannot see it. It will then strike rapidly and get the prey caught in a death roll to kill it.
3. Arctic Wolves
|Scientific Name||Canis lupus arctos|
|Size||Up to 5 ft long|
The diet of the arctic wolf consists of muskoxen and arctic hares, and some other animals found in the Arctic. It doesn’t have the freedom of choice as the grey wolf does, but it’s that more resourceful and ferocious. The arctic wolf is known to be very aggressive even towards humans.
4. Asian Golden Cats
|Scientific Name||Catopuma temminckii|
|Size||Up to 41 inches|
The Asian golden cat is a threatened species because of the deforestation that is happening in Asia. It is largely nocturnal, and it will hunt other smaller animals in its habitat. The primary types of food include birds, hares, rodents, reptiles, and smaller ungulates.
|Scientific Name||Arctictis binturong|
|Size||Up to 3ft|
|Habitat||Forested plains and forests|
The binturong is a creature that exists mainly in forested countries of Asia. Most of the time, this animal lives in tall forests where it will hunt smaller animals. Sometimes, this animal is also called a bearcat due to its resemblance to both a cat and a bear.
6. Canada Lynxes
|Scientific Name||Lynx canadensis|
|Size||Up to 42 inches|
The typical characteristics of the Canada lynx include long and thick fur, triangular ears, snowshoe-like pawns, and carnivorous nature. The lynx heavily depends on the snowshoe hare, which is its main type of prey.
|Scientific Name||Acinonyx jubatus|
|Size||4ft 11 in|
The cheetah is one of the fastest animals in the world. Thanks to its speed and its sharp teeth and claws, you can easily see why this creature is one of the best hunters in the world, too. It focuses on ungulates and other smaller creatures in its habitat.
|Scientific Name||Puma concolor|
|Size||Up to 7ft 10 in|
|Habitat||Savannas, rainforests, mountains, forests, grasslands|
The cougar is an agile hunter that is capable of hunting down larger quantities of prey. It is especially typical to see this animal in the Western hemisphere, and in the United States, it is often referred to as a mountain lion.
|Scientific Name||Canis latrans|
|Size||Up to 4ft 5 inches|
Last but not least, we have the coyote, another species that belongs to the group of animals called canids. Many people believe that the coyote is a mixture of dogs and wolves, but it’s actually more similar to wolves.
|Scientific Name||Canis familiaris|
|Size||Up to 50 inches|
|Habitat||From desert to rainforest|
The dingo is an ancient type of species only found in Australia. The origin of this species is still disputed; some believe it’s a dog and wolf hybrid while others say it’s a wolf species. In any case, the dingo is a carnivore that focuses primarily on meat-based sources of food.
11. Domestic Cats
|Scientific Name||Felis catus|
|Type of Animal||Mammal|
Domestic cats are members of the family Felidae who are nearly all obligate carnivores. In other words, they can’t really digest vegetables much. This is why most of the food we give our pet cats is ground meat, often the leftovers from meat that we humans have raised and slaughtered for ourselves.
12. European Wildcats
|Scientific Name||Felis silvestris|
|Size||Up to 26 inches|
|Habitat||Forests, urban areas|
The European wildcat is the closest thing to domestic cats. In terms of appearance, it might share several similarities to the cat you have at home. But the wildcat is more aggressive and also more ferocious against other animals. It’s also primarily a carnivore.
13. Fishing Cats
|Scientific Name||Prionailurus viverrinus|
|Size||Up to 31 inches|
|Habitat||Wetlands, streams, rivers|
The fishing cat is native to the proximity of water bodies in India. This animal is primarily nocturnal where it will hunt for fish. It can swim deep and it can cover great distances by swimming, too.
|Scientific Name||Cryptoprocta ferox|
Endemic to Madagascar, the fossa has become vulnerable to extinction in recent decades. It is a carnivore that shares many features with cat species. The fossa likes to jump from tree to tree while also climbing tough surfaces thanks to its semi-retractable claws and agile body.
|Type of Animal||Reptile|
Frogs do not eat any grass or plants at all. Their diet consists entirely of insects that they catch with their long tongues. They’re particularly fond of dragonflies and mosquitoes, both of whom tend to share the same wet habitats that frogs like to hang out in. Unlike many other carnivores on this list, frogs are not apex predators, and need to watch their back or else they’ll be eaten by other carnivores such as snakes.
16. Great White Sharks
|Scientific Name||Carcharodon carcharias|
The great white shark is one of the largest carnivores in the world. It preys upon fish, dolphins, and other creatures in the water. The truth is that each shark has its own preferences when it comes to diet, but all of the sharks from this group of animals are carnivores by nature.
17. Grey Wolves
|Scientific Name||Canis lupus|
|Size||Up to 63 inches|
Native to the forests of Asia, Europe, and North America, the grey wolf is one of the most ferocious hunters in the wild. They’re especially formidable when they hunt in packs – that’s when the power of the pack makes the wolf an unstoppable force of nature.
18. Griffon Vultures
|Scientific Name||Gyps fulvus|
|Size||Up to 9ft|
The griffon vulture is commonly found even in Europe and parts of Asia, but also in Africa. The animal prefers warm climates where it will feed on the dead bodies of other animals, so it prefers primarily a carnivorous diet.
19. Indian Grey Mongooses
|Scientific Name||Urva edwardsii|
The Indian grey mongoose is a crafty animal. It knows exactly when to attack and when not to, allowing it to stay safe. It mostly preys on rodents, birds, lizards, and all sorts of smaller animals it can find in its habitat. It’s also an avid breeder, allowing it to spread quickly if given the chance.
|Scientific Name||Panthera leo|
|Size||Up to 82 inches|
Known as an apex predator, the lion is historically one of the most significant animals in human history. Not only has it commonly been a feared animal even by the ancient people, but it’s also a symbol of royalty, dominance, and grace.
21. Northern Elephant Seals
|Scientific Name||Mirounga angustirostris|
|Size||Up to 12 ft|
Seals primarily hunt fish, and they are good swimmers. They have several adaptations in their bodies that allow them to stay underwater for prolonged periods.
|Scientific Name||Leopardus pardalis|
|Size||Up to 40 inches|
|Habitat||Forests, swamps, savannas, mountains|
This smaller type of cat prefers to live in densely vegetated areas where it can hide and ambush its prey. It’s small and agile, which allows it to hunt down smaller animals.
|Type of Animal||Bird|
While we don’t tend to think of owls as particularly vicious creatures, they are in fact excellent hunters due to their amazing eyesight. Owls can see in the dark and do most of their hunting at night. They will prey on unsuspecting rodents and snakes that cross their paths. One reason they’re such good hunters is that they have the advantage of being able to attack their ground-dwelling prey from above.
24. Pit Vipers
|Type of Animal||Reptile|
|Range||Deserts to rainforests|
|Diet||Mice and other Rodents|
All snakes are carnivores and in fact they can’t eat vegetables. Their stomachs aren’t designed for anything but meat. Most snakes, like the pit viper, will eat small rodents and amphibians such as mice, rats, and frogs. Vipers kill their prey by using their poisonous venom, then tend to swallow it hole.
25. Polar Bears
|Scientific Name||Ursus maritimus|
|Size||Up to 7ft|
The polar bear is the only bear that is a true carnivore. The rest tend to eat vegetables as well as meat (or, in the case of the Great Panda, only vegetables!). The polar bear needs to be resourceful doesn’t have an abundance of foods to choose from. Its main food item is seals which it ambushes when they jump out of the water. It’s also a feared animal by humans because it often targets humans to eat if one comes close to the bear.
26. Scalloped Hammerheads
|Scientific Name||Sphyrna lewini|
Like the great white shark, the scalloped hammerhead is also a carnivore. It is particularly known for its hammer-shaped head. This species also has very sharp teeth, allowing it to hunt down larger and smaller fish in its habitat.
|Scientific Name||Leptailurus serval|
|Size||Up to 24 inches|
|Habitat||Deserts, savannas, grasslands|
Sleek and slender, the serval is a wild cat native to Africa – Sub-Saharan Africa in particular. It also has long legs and it is very agile, allowing it to hunt smaller types of prey that it will catch with its speed. It can also leap very far and it can kill its prey by biting it into the neck.
28. Spotted Hyenas
|Scientific Name||Crocuta crocuta|
|Size||Up to 65 inches|
Known for its cunning and its agility, the spotted hyena is a skilled hunter. While the hyena might have a negative reputation in both the Western and African cultures, you can’t deny the power of this animal. It’s also known for its laughing, which many people connect to its cunning character.
29. Spotted Linsangs
|Scientific Name||Prionodon pardicolor|
|Size||Up to 15 inches|
The spotted linsang lives in the evergreen forests of Southern Asia where it will feed on smaller animals, such as frogs, rodents, and snakes. Occasionally, this animal also feeds on corpses of other animals.
|Size||Up to 4.5 inches|
The tarantula is known as one of the most preferred types of spider pets, but it’s also heavily reliant on meat-based foods, just like the vast majority of other spider species. It likes to eat insects and other smaller creatures it can hunt, and it’s also an ambushing predator. Luckily, it won’t attack humans, if that’s what you’re worried about!
|Scientific Name||Panthera tigris|
|Size||Up to 12.8 ft in length|
|Habitat||Savannas, grasslands, deserts, rainforests|
The tiger is one of the most diverse groups of carnivores in the world. They are adapted to living in different conditions, including savannas, grasslands, deserts, and even rainforests. This is afforded to them by their agile nature and their elegant bodies that allow them to fit almost anywhere in the world.
|Scientific Name||Odobenus rosmarus|
|Habitat||Edge of the sea|
Known for its tusks and whiskers, walrus is considered to be a keystone species in the Arctic. This animal has been hunted ever since ancient times as it was known for its fur and its meat, but it’s also an avid hunter itself.
33. Wolf Spiders
|Size||Up to 1.38 in|
They say that the wolf spider is the best hunter among all spiders, and that estimation is not far from the truth. Thanks to its excellent eyesight and agile nature, the wolf spider can hunt down all sorts of insects. It is an ambushing predator in the first place, giving its prey little to no chance to defend.
Animals that are carnivores are some of the best hunters in the world. While you might find some surprising inclusions on this list, most of the animals that are carnivores are also apex predators in their habitats.
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