Scavenging desert animals include ravens, vultures, crows, foxes and coyotes. Additionally, many scavenging insects subsist on dead organisms. Some of the desert’s scavengers are capable of capturing their own prey, but as food can be scarce in the desert, they are always looking to scavenge an easy meal.
Scavengers are a type of consumer, just as carnivores are. The primary difference between the two groups is that carnivores typically hunt and kill their prey, while scavengers eat dead or nearly dead prey. Sometimes, scavengers subsist on food that carnivores killed. However, some scavengers, such as some insects, consume dead plants instead.
Scavengers often have adaptations that aid their scavenging habits. For example, coyotes and foxes have a strong sense of smell, which helps them to locate carcasses. Vultures have a strong sense of smell, which is a rare trait among other bird species. Vultures have also evolved into bald creatures, which helps them to stay clean while inserting their heads into dead animals. Even sedentary animals are capable of traveling efficiently over long distances to increase their chances of detecting food.
Scavengers play an important role in desert ecosystems. By eating dead organisms, they help to recycle the minerals in their bodies back into the ecosystem.Learn More
Hyenas are scavengers and often eat the scraps that other predators leave behind, but they also hunt their own prey. They hunt large animals, such as wildebeests and antelope, as well as smaller species, such as birds, snakes, lizards and insects.Full Answer >
Water snakes are scavengers and carnivores, eating prey such as amphibians, crayfish, other snakes, birds, small mammals, fish and large insects. These snakes search for prey during all hours of the day and once they catch something, they just swallow it alive.Full Answer >
Both scavengers and detritivores consume dead animals. Scavengers obtain most or all of their sustenance from dead animals, while detritivores often consume a combination of decaying plant and animal material, as well as waste.Full Answer >
Dogs bury objects due to an evolutionary instinct to store and protect bones and food from scavengers. Known as cache behavior, it is common for domestic dogs to bury bones, toys and other objects, according to the Wolf Education & Research Center.Full Answer >