animals that only eat meat

Animals that Only Eat Meat

Written by: Akeem Eletu

Animals that only eat meat are called carnivores. There are animals that only eat meat. 

While one may think that only animals can be carnivores, surprisingly, there are plant species that eat meat. 

Animals that Only Eat Meat

Tigers, cheetahs, lions, and hyenas are among the most well-known ruthless hunters. Not all carnivores are mammals. Some species of reptiles, fish, and birds are also carnivores. 

Tigers, sharks, and the Venus flytrap are the most dangerous meat-eaters in their respective categories. Most carnivores have strong jaws and sharp teeth. Unlike herbivores, they have sharp incisors which can be highly advantageous. This list of animals that eat meat is by no means exhaustive, but here are some notable ones worthy of discussion.

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CROCODILES

Crocodiles are carnivores that eat the flesh of fish, humans, and other creatures. They have more than 60 strong teeth that shred the meat of their victims. The crocodile’s enormous jaws allow it to consume large mammal species in just a few minutes. 

The crocodile has mastered a technique when hunting for food: it approaches the water’s edge and remains entirely still until its prey falls into its jaws. It is also famous for moving very swiftly underwater. Once the prey has been caught, it drags it until it drowns and is helpless, devouring it. 

SHARKS

Their speed, sharp teeth, and great power make sharks one of the most feared aquatic carnivores. They are large and extremely dangerous. Sharks often swim at an average speed of fifteen miles per hour. Their speed allows them to easily catch their prey while their strong teeth help them chew the prey to pieces which start their digestive process.

Sharks can detect blood drips from a distance of more than 3 miles. Without a doubt, the great white shark is the most dangerous. They possess big mouths that contain about 300 knife-like teeth. They will consume any fish that comes their way, including small sharks.

TIGERS

All large cats are carnivores. The largest, the tiger, is extremely dangerous and vicious. They quietly approach their prey and usually use their stripes to disguise themselves. A tiger consumes nearly 40 to 85 pounds of beef daily. 

Tigers are solitary hunters and prefer to finish their victims off on the go when they hunt. Any moving animal with meat is fair game for a tiger. They are not picky and will consume whatever they find. 

They eat deer, leopards, wild pigs, zebras, horses, and goats. They eat small mammals like birds, monkeys, lizards, or even termites when large prey are scarce.

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POLAR BEARS

Unlike many other bear species, polar bears exclusively eat meat. They usually hunt seals because they share the same habitat, but will consume any other animal that comes within their reach. 

Polar bears typically wait for seals to come to the surface of the sea ice to breathe. They will attack or grab the seal as it approaches the surface and drags it to land to feast upon. They also consume walruses and whale corpses. 

Another primary food source for polar bears is seal pups that reside in burrows in the Arctic ice. Using smell and other cues, these bears would track down dens and then pounce on the roof to seize baby seals. Polar bears reign supreme in their habitat. They reside in the Arctic and consume everything, and only fall pretty to Inuit hunters.

VULTURES

Vultures are meat-eating animals that eat carcasses. They will eat deteriorated corpses even where the meat is possibly poisonous to other animals. Vultures play a unique and vital ecological role as they aid the decomposition of the carcass. 

They are opportunistic eaters, and they use their keen vision and sense of smell to hunt for food. They can detect a dead carcass from a mile away. They are strong fliers who soar on columns of rising air while keeping an eye on the ground. 

Can Carnivores Eat Plants

Yes, carnivores can eat plants. Lions have been observed eating grass.  They need a source of fiber, and grass provides what they need. It helps them displace stomach acids and excrete indigestible food items that may have been eaten off by other animals. These items can include fur and feathers.  But their main diet is meat and meat only.

Final Thoughts

The physical traits of carnivores set them apart from other animals. Animals that eat meat can be easily distinguished from other animals based on their physical characteristics. It is what sets them apart as superior hunters and consumers. 

They have body features that offer them some advantages over their prey. For sharks and other aquatic predators, their teeth are large enough to tear prey into pieces in a very short time. Sharks also have enhanced smelling abilities to detect blood from afar. They can always find injured prey and eat a meal without much struggle. Other smaller aquatic fish also do their bits with their razor-sharp teeth, especially the piranhas.

Lions and other terrestrial carnivores have sharp incisors and canines for ripping and tearing meat. For them, it is a great hunting weapon since it lets them contain prey in only a matter of seconds.

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