Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

Carrion, a favorite treat of scavengers, is the flesh of dead and rotting animals.

Scavengers are animals that feed on dead or injured animals. Scavengers are not usually held in high esteem, but they have a job to do: they clean the earth of organic garbage.

Five Birds That Scavenge

Vultures are not the same as buzzards. Buzzards are a kind of hawk; vultures form their own family.

California condors eat the remains of dead animals.

Crows can be seen eating small mammals, like squirrels, that have been killed on roads.

Marabou storks of the Eastern Hemisphere travel with vultures and hyenas, and eat dead fish, reptiles, and other animals — even elephants.

Seagulls like to hunt fish, insects, and earthworms, but will also eat carrion and go through garbage for food.

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Vultures are full-time scavengers.


Three Fish That Scavenge

Young marine eels will eat dead fish and crustaceans.

Remoras swim near large fish and sharks and eat their leftovers.

Sharks keep the ocean clean by eating dead or wounded fish.

Seven Mammals that Scavenge

Bears often follow ravens in order to find dead fish to eat. Alaskan brown bears feed on dead seals, walruses, and whales that have floated ashore.

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Hyenas hunt and scavenge in packs. African villagers often leave their garbage out for hyenas to eat.


Jackals (African wild dogs) often scavenge in packs beside hyenas.

Leopards, like lions, will scavenge when their hunting is unsuccessful.

Lions are great predators but will often scavenge or steal prey caught by other animals.

Raccoons eat garbage from dumps and cans, especially if it smells of chicken or fish.


Rats will eat almost anything.

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