What is a Carnivore?

Carnivores like herbivores are in the second level of the food chain. Unlike herbivores that eat mainly plants, carnivores eat mainly other animals. Most carnivores get their energy and nutrients from eating herbivores so they are called secondary consumers. There are a few carnivores that eat other carnivores, so they are called tertiary consumers.

[Spider]                           [Lion]              

Most carnivores in the food chain are called predators. A predator is an animal that hunts for and kills other animals for food. The animals that predators hunt are called prey. There are many different kinds of carnivores from small spiders that catch and eat flies, to lions that hunt and kill their food.

Do you remember reading about the Venus fly trap when you read about producers? Well here is where this plant fits in on the food chain. These plants are not producers rather they are carnivorous and capture flies to eat as they fly by.
 Venus Fly Trap
[Venus Fly Trap]

Scavengers are animals that don’t hunt but eat the leftovers of predators. Hyenas and ravens are examples of scavengers because they don’t hunt but eat other animals’ leftovers. Scavengers can also be considered decomposers because they feed off of dead things.

[Hyena]                            [Ravens]

Carnivores in other Ecosystems
Carnivores in the Desert

Banded GeckoRattlesnake
[Banded Gecko]           [Rattlesnake]             

In the desert there are many predators. Some of the predators in this ecosystem are very sneaky. For example the banded gecko will come out at night to hunt for insects and rattlesnakes will use their venom to kill small rodents, and lizards before eating them.

Carnivores in the Water

When you think of meat eating animals in the water what is the first fish that comes to mind?
 You got it, a shark! Sharks are just one of the carnivores in the water.


Other carnivores in the water include barracudas, moray eels, piranhas and squid. All the carnivores in the water eat other fish.

BarracudasMoray Eel
[Barracudas]                   [Moray Eel]
   [Piranhas]                         [Squid]

Carnivores in the Forest

[Owl]                        [Wolf]
      [Lynx]                            [Weasel]

The forest has many different animals some that eat meat and others that eat only plants. Some of the meats eating carnivorous animals in the forest are owls, wolves, lynx, and the weasel. The wolf eats many larger herbivores in the forest whereas the weasel feeds in small animals like mice.

Carnivores in the Arctic

Snowy OwlArctic WolfArctic Fox
[Snowy Owl]               [Arctic Wolf]            [Arctic Fox]         

The arctic has many different carnivores, some life on the land and others live in the water. Land carnivores are the arctic wolf, the arctic, fox, and the snowy owl. All these carnivores eat herbivores so they are secondary consumers.

Polar bear
[Polar bear]

On the ice in the arctic polar bears are tertiary consumers because they eat seals that are also carnivores.

Sea StarBeluga Whale
     [Sea Star]            [Beluga Whale]

In the cold arctic waters there are many carnivorous animals from small seabed life like sea stars to the beluga whale.

Arctic LoonArctic Tern
         [Arctic Loon]             [Arctic Tern]

And lastly in the arctic skies there are a few kinds of carnivorous birds like the arctic loon and arctic terns that like to eat zooplankton.

Did you know?
question mark

If there were no carnivores there would be too many herbivores and not enough producers to feed them.

Lesson Plan  Quiz Homework Activity The Food Chain