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(kär`nəvôr'), term commonly applied to any animal whose diet consists wholly or largely of animal matter. In animal systematics it refers to members of the mammalian order Carnivora (see ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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). This large order is divided into two suborders, the Fissipedia, or land carnivores, and the Pinnipedia, or fin-footed carnivores. The Fissipedia encompasses two superfamilies: one (Canoidea) includes the dogdog,
carnivorous, domesticated wolf (Canis lupus familiaris) of the family Canidae, to which the jackal and fox also belong. The family Canidae is sometimes referred to as the dog family, and its characteristics, e.g.
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, bearbear,
large mammal of the family Ursidae in the order Carnivora, found almost exclusively in the Northern Hemisphere. Bears have large heads, bulky bodies, massive hindquarters, short, powerful limbs, very short tails, and coarse, thick fur.
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, raccoonraccoon,
nocturnal New World mammal of the genus Procyon. The common raccoon of North America, Procyon lotor, also called coon, is found from S Canada to South America, except in parts of the Rocky Mts. and in deserts.
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, and weaselweasel,
name for certain small, lithe, carnivorous mammals of the family Mustelidae (weasel family). Members of this family are generally characterized by long bodies and necks, short legs, small rounded ears, and medium to long tails.
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 families and the other (Feloidea) includes the catcat,
name applied broadly to the carnivorous mammals constituting the family Felidae, and specifically to the domestic cat, Felis catus. The great roaring cats, the lion, tiger, and leopard are anatomically very similar to one another and constitute the genus
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, civetcivet
or civet cat,
any of a large group of mostly nocturnal mammals of the Old World family Viverridae (civet family), which also includes the mongoose. Civets are not true cats, but the civet family is related to the cat family (Felidae).
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, and hyenahyena
, carnivorous, chiefly nocturnal mammal of the Old World family Hyaenidae. Although doglike in appearance, hyenas are more closely related to civets (family Viverridae) and cats (family Felidae) than to dogs (family Canidae).
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 families. The Pinnipedia, often classified as a separate order, includes the sealseal,
carnivorous aquatic mammal with front and hind feet modified as flippers, or fin-feet. The name seal is sometimes applied broadly to any of the fin-footed mammals, or pinnipeds, including the walrus, the eared seals (sea lion and fur seal), and the true seals, also called
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, sea lionsea lion,
fin-footed marine mammal of the eared seal family (Otariidae). Like the other member of this family, the fur seal, the sea lion is distinguished from the true seal by its external ears, long, flexible neck, supple forelimbs, and hind flippers that can be turned forward
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, and walruswalrus,
marine mammal, Odobenus rosmarus, found in Arctic seas. Largest of the fin-footed mammals, or pinnipeds (see seal), the walrus is also distinguished by its long tusks and by cheek pads bearing quill-like bristles.
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 families. The term herbivore refers to animals whose diets consist wholly or largely of plant matter; omnivore refers to animals that eat both animal and plant matter. Unlike the term carnivore, these terms do not refer to any one group in animal systematics.


See R. F. Ewer, The Carnivores (1986); J. L. Gittleman, Carnivore Behavior, Ecology, and Evolution (1989).


1. any placental mammal of the order Carnivora, typically having large pointed canine teeth and sharp molars and premolars, specialized for eating flesh. The order includes cats, dogs, bears, raccoons, hyenas, civets, and weasels
2. any other animal or any plant that feeds on animals


A network analyzer used by the FBI that analyzes email packets of suspected criminals. Officially known as DCS100, FBI agents bring Windows 2000 PCs with the Carnivore software installed into an ISP and plug them into a switch port. Carnivore was designed to capture all email packets as they originated as well as be able to hone in on just the suspected user without reading packets from others. See network analyzer.
References in periodicals archive ?
Mike Jordan, the zoo's collections director, added: "Painted dogs are now one of Africa's most endangered carnivores, due to the huge territories they need to survive, much larger than most other carnivores.
Although Borths mentioned dogs, cats and hyenas, the hyaenodonts are only thinly related to these other carnivores, sort of like a distant cousin - PLOS explains that they share common ancestors, but hyaenodonts were on a branch of the family tree that diverged before those more modern animals began to evolve.
Moreover, because of their extensive spatial requirements and unique ecosystem functions, such as top-down control of a food chain (Terborgh, 1988), most carnivores can be considered keystone species, contributing to the balance of the ecosystem by maintaining its structure, regulating prey densities and avoiding competitive exclusion (Ucarli, 2011; Ripple et al.
The tyrannosaurs of the late Cretaceous period (80,000,000 to 66,000,000 years ago) are among the biggest carnivores to have walked the Earth, but their predecessors--who lived as far back as 170,000,000 years ago, in the Jurassic period--generally were no bigger than a horse.
CSIC researcher Vincenzo Pentariani listed running in the dark, leaving children unattended or walking dogs off-leash in carnivore zones, approaching a female with young, and approaching a wounded animal when hunting as the main errors humans make.
The present case highlights the need and method of immobilization, surgical and therapeutic management to deal with such field emergencies of injured carnivores as a result of human-leopard conflicts.
Crucially, humans broke nature's rules by targeting reproductive adult prey and other carnivores.
Among their many impacts, carnivores are a benefit to ecotourism.
A study in Science magazine published today has found that three-fourths of the largest carnivores on Earth - a group that includes lions, tigers, bears and wolves - are in decline, with most of them officially recognized as threatened.
The four young dogs from the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) sent to Ruaha Carnivore Project in Tanzania have arrived safely and are said to be doing fine.
Erik Sperling an earth scientist at Harvard University, and colleagues say an increase in oxygen in the geologic record at the onset of the Cambrian period allowed carnivores to evolve.
Study was aimed to explore the extent of depredation (injuries and deaths) of livestock and human beings by different carnivore species, estimation of the economic loss of the local villagers, perceptions of the locals and retaliatory killings of carnivores during the last three years.