Written by: Akeem Eletu
Last updated on:

As disgusting as it sounds, there are animals that eat dead animals. Whether you call it carrion, carcass, or dead animals, it is a gory sight watching an animal eat the dead body of another animal, especially as it shares the feast with a million murky maggots. But the dead animal can be a fresh kill or the decaying dead body of an animal, and that is what makes all the difference among its predators.

Animals that eat dead animals are often called scavengers. Many of them are opportunistic eaters that eat dead animals killed by other predators or from other causes of death. 

No matter how disgusting the idea may seem, nature is nature, and many animals thrive on dead animals. Some enjoy only fresh kills, while others do not mind decaying flesh.

Here is a piece that lists animals that eat dead creatures. Brace yourself for the grimmest information as you read on.


Animals that eat dead creatures vary in size. Some are very small and live in the carrion as they feed on it, while others are big and do not live in the carrion but will spend a huge amount of time tearing the smelly carcass and indulging in the distasteful flesh. Either way, they help in continuing the transfer of how energy and food are moved through the ecosystem. 

Below is a list of animals that eat dead creatures.


Vultures must always top the list of animals that eat dead animals. All vultures feed on animal carcasses, except for palm-nut vultures (they feed on palm oil fruit). Other species also hunt small prey like insects, lizards, rodents, and smaller birds. 

Vultures have a meat-based diet since they are carnivores. They rarely attack living creatures; however, sick or near-death animals are usually preyed upon by vultures. It is common to find them stalking a dying animal as they wait for it to kick the bucket. These birds’ stomachs are incredibly adaptive to rotten carcasses harboring bacteria.

Primarily, vultures like to feed on carrion, mammals, reptiles, birds, fish, amphibians, and invertebrates. These scavengers prefer to devour newly dead animals that they usually discover using their keen sense of smell.

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Coyotes are scavengers. They enjoy eating dead animals. Coyotes also eat other coyotes’ carcasses. Coyotes are omnivores and depending on where they live, their diet consists of various animals. Coyotes eat almost any type of animal, so it is not surprising that carrion is on their “any day food menu.”  

They have adapted themselves to eating whatever is available in human-populated places. This comprises livestock and crop plants in rural areas. But they rarely eat toads, shrews, moles, or rats, even when they are plentiful. You often find them ravaging a farm or waiting on a sick but powerful prey to die so they can devour it. 


Although jackals often hunt smaller prey, they are mainly scavengers, and they depend significantly on dead animals for food. 

Jackals are called opportunistic omnivores at their best. Their diet includes insects, reptiles, ground-dwelling birds, and tiny antelopes, but dead animals will always top the list. This is because they will eat anything they can get their hands on, from smaller, easier prey to the carcass of an abandoned kill. 


Komodo dragons are carnivorous that feed mainly on flesh from animals like pigs, deer, and goats. Komodo dragons are ravenous carcass eaters and will eat any dead animal.

Komodo dragons have a great appetite for carrion and they have sometimes been seen digging shallow graves to access the body of corpses.

Another reason they eat carrion is that they spend their time tracking down animals they have fatally injured and only get to the dead animal some time after it has died from the venomous bites of the Komodo dragon.

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You have probably heard that lions like their meat very fresh. That is true. Even though lions eat dead animals, they will never eat a decaying animal, unlike many other dead animal eaters. They eat only fresh kills.

Lions are famous for their greed. You will often find male lions chasing away the females after the lionesses have successfully hunted an animal for food. They will settle down on the dead animal and have their fill before leaving whatever is left for the lionesses.


Snakes usually hunt for prey in the wild and they eat dead animals. However,  they only eat freshly dead animals. Captive snakes eat freshly dead rodents or rats. Most pet stores and animal experts advise that snakes in captivity should be served only freshly dead prey instead of a live animal.

Also, they will often sink their venoms into their prey or constrict it to death before swallowing it up. So, yes, they eat dead animals. But they prefer to consume live prey and eggs of other animals. They often eat eggs from other animals such as birds, fish, and even other reptiles. 


Any list of animals that eat dead animals without worms at the top of the list is inaccurate. These invertebrates are typically the first animals to feed on dead animals. They start as eggs laid on the dead animal’s body after the carcass has been engulfed with flies. 

After they hatch, the maggots begin to eat deep into the flesh of the carcass. They eat up all that flesh in a matter of hours. While the carcass is their meal, it also serves as their abode for the time being. After devouring the dead animals, they then appear as worms. 


There are many different types of predators. While there are some that only eat freshly dead animals, there are others that actively dig up a rotten corpse for the next meal. Whatever category they may be, the fact remains that what appeals to them is as disgusting as the way they indulge in it.

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