Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: carnivore
From The Columbia Encyclopedia

(kär'nӘvôr´´), 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 Chordata). 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 dog, bear, raccoon, and weasel families and the other (Feloidea) includes the cat, civet, and hyena families. The Pinnipedia, often classified as a separate order, includes the seal, sea lion, and walrus 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 Ewer, R. F. , The Carnivores (1986);.
  • Gittleman, J. L. , Carnivore Behavior, Ecology, and Evolution (1989).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

Related Articles

Full text Article carnivore
Philip's Encyclopedia

Any member of the order of flesh-eating mammals. Mustelids - weasels, martens, minks and the wolverine - make up the largest family. Cats are...

Full text Article CARNIVORES
Encyclopedias of the Natural World: Encyclopedia of Biological Invasions

The Carnivora are a diverse order of placental mammals: almost all Carnivora are primarily meat eaters, though some species (such as the small...

See more from Credo