A carnivore is defined as any animal that eats other animals. Carnivorous animals such as the spotted hyena, lion, and gray wolf have several unique characteristics that set them apart from other members of the animal kingdom. They all possess a very simple and short digestive system that is only three times the length of their bodies. Because flesh decays very rapidly, the products of this decay quickly poison the bloodstream if they remain in the body for too long. A shortened digestive tract has therefore evolved to allow for rapid expulsion of putrefactive bacteria from decomposing flesh. A second trait of meat-eaters is that they usually have stomachs that contain ten times as much hydrochloric acid as non-carnivorous animals. This allows them to digest fibrous tissue and bones more easily.
The most significant difference between carnivores and other animals is their teeth. In addition to having sharp claws, all meat-eaters possess powerful jaws and pointed, elongated "canine" teeth to pierce tough hide and tear flesh.
|African Wild Cat
Great Horned Owl
Northern River Otter