|If ever a lion is looking at you like this, it's time to run. Or play dead. Or climb a tree. I don't actually know what to do.|
(photo by Martin "About to be Eaten" Falsbisoner)
Noun. Mid-19th century.
[French, from Latin carnivorus: see next.]
A carnivorous animal;
a member of the order Carnivora of mainly carnivorous mammals
(including dogs, cats, bears, seals, etc.).
Also, a carnivorous plant.
Adjective. Late 16th century.
[Latin carnivorus from caro, carn- flesh: see -VOROUS.]
1 Feeding on flesh; preying on other animals;
ZOOLOGY belonging to the order Carnivora (see preceding). L16
2 Of plants: able to absorb and digest animals substances. M19
carnivorously adverb M19
carnivory noun carnivorous behaviour. E20
|Photo by S.Taheri|
An obligate carnivore quite simply has to have meat (it's obligated) as it can only meet its nutritional requirements through the consumption of flesh. Physiologically, they lack the digestive functions to process plant and vegetable matter, so there's absolutely no point in trying to convince little Whiskers to be a vegetarian as he's unable to synthesize certain vital nutrients or obtain them from anything other than meat. Occasionally, obligate carnivores will consume other materials for non-nutritional purposes (as an emetic, for example).
Examples: Cats (felidae), from Tiddles to tigers, are obligate carnivores, as are polar bears and snakes.
|Photo by Daniel Mott|
A facultative carnivore has the faculty to digest and obtain nutrients from both flesh and plant material. It might even be able to live for a time on one or the other. The proportion of meat in its natural diet will determine whether it's a facultative hypercarnivore, mesocarnivore or hypocarnivore.
Examples: Dogs and wolves.
|Photo by Ansgar Walk|
HypercarnivoreA hypercarnivore (not a hyper carnivore) has a diet consisting of more than 70% meat,
though they may supplement it with some plant matter unless they're an obligate carnivore too.
Examples: Cats, polar bears, dolphins, orcas, eagles and sharks.
A mesocarnivore's diet is between 50-70% meat. By human standards, that's still an awful lot.
Photo by Karen Arnold
Examples: Coyotes, skunks and many species of fox.
The lightweights of the carnivore world, a hypocarnivore's diet consists of less than 30% meat.
Photo by Harvey Barrison
They sometimes get teased by other, more hardcore carnivores.
Examples: Black bears, binturongs and raccoons.
Are you a carnivore?
What percentage of your diet is meat?
Are you really going to tell me that your cat is a strict vegetarian?
Do please leave your most well done comments below.