The 27 Most Fascinating Scavenger Animals

The Scavenger animals Are those that mainly consume decomposing biomass, such as rotten meat or plant material. While most carnivores hunt and kill their prey, scavengers usually consume animals injured or have died of natural causes or been hunted by another carnivore.

Carrion can come from many sources and scavengers do not discriminate where they get their next meal. Common sources of carrion include:

  • When the predator kills : Flocks of scavenger birds may chase many predators and take control of a killing or feed on an abandoned hunting.
  • Leftover parts of the game : Some internal organs or unwanted pieces of an animal that hunted are left behind by the hunters and becomes carrion for other animals
  • Animals that have been run over by vehicles : This type of carrion is used by all types of carrion animals, including birds.
  • Natural Deaths : Animals that die of old age, disease, premature birth or other causes can become carrion.

Scavengers play an important role in the food web. They maintain an ecosystem free of dead animal bodies, or carrion. Scavengers decompose this organic material and recycle it into the ecosystem as nutrients.

Many animals eat carrion if they have the opportunity, although this is not their preferred food source. Lions, leopards, wolves and other predators that hunt other animals, eat carrion if necessary.

Top 27 animal scavengers

1- The crows

The 27 Most Fascinating Scavenger Animals

They can be seen eating small mammals, such as squirrels, that have died on the roads. They also eat bird eggs and pigeons, so it is common to see smaller birds stalking and chasing crows.

2 - Marabou storks

The 27 Most Fascinating Scavenger Animals 1

From the Eastern Hemisphere, they travel with vultures and hyenas and eat dead fish, reptiles and other animals, including elephants.

3- The vultures

The 27 Most Fascinating Scavenger Animals 2

They are large, carnivorous birds, known for their purifying nature. The vulture is one of the few types of birds that are widely distributed around the world, found on all continents, excluding Antarctica and Australia and the surrounding islands.

All species of vultures are similar in the sense that they eat carrion whenever possible instead of killing it by themselves.

Vultures feed on the remains of dead animals and are never too demanding with what remains. Vultures are known to release flesh, skin and even feathers, leaving only the skeleton of the animal.

4- The bears

The 27 Most Fascinating Scavenger Animals 3

They are another common type of scavengers. While bears eat mainly vegetation and fish, they are attracted to human waste. Scavenger bears are quite common and have caused problems when venturing to find food in big cities.

5- Hyenas

The 27 Most Fascinating Scavenger Animals 4

They are the most common carnivores in Africa. Over the years, hyenas and humans have been in close contact in Africa and, in earlier times, in Asia and Europe, which often leads to mutual predation.

In ancient Egypt, hyenas were domesticated, fattened and were a common food. Hyenas can be bold and dangerous, attacking animals and humans. Hyenas are skillful hunters, but they are also scavengers.

They consume animals of various types and sizes (including other hyenas), carrion, bones, plant matter and other animal excrement. The hyena's powerful jaws and digestive tract allow it to process and obtain nutrients from the skin and bones.

The only parts of prey that do not digest are the hair, the horns and the hooves, these regurgitate in the form of granules.

6- The fox

The 27 Most Fascinating Scavenger Animals 5

It is a carnivorous scavenger dog, usually found in urban areas of the city in the northern hemisphere. The fox is a nocturnal mammal, which means that the fox only goes out one night to prey hunting. They usually hunt rodents, insects, berries and eat dead animals.

7- The Remoras

The 27 Most Fascinating Scavenger Animals 6

They are small scavengers that could be seen as food by all kinds of other marine creatures including larger fish, dolphins, sea turtles, seals, large squids or octopuses.

By clinging to the shark, an animal that most other sea creatures fear, the remora is protected from being the food of other fish. Remoras are happy eating the remains of what the shark kills. In many cases, they even consume shark feces.

8- The Tasmanian Devil

The 27 Most Fascinating Scavenger Animals 7

It is mainly a nocturnal scavenger that feeds on what is available. It has powerful jaws and teeth that allow it to completely devour its prey, bones and skins. They eat various small mammals and birds like carrion or prey. The corpses of sheep and cattle are also a food source for these carnivorous marsupials.

9- The hedgehogs

The 27 Most Fascinating Scavenger Animals 8

They are nocturnal omnivores that consume a great variety of insects like beetles, caterpillars, slugs, earwigs and worms. They also eat fruits and fungi, do not hunt prey but find it foraging with their senses of smell and hearing.

As they hibernate every December, through March, they should increase their body weight significantly in the summer and fall months, requiring them to consume up to 70 grams of food each night. Hedgehogs are scavengers so even eat other small mammals, young birds and any carrion they may encounter.

10- The Jackals

The 27 Most Fascinating Scavenger Animals 9

They are nocturnal, omnivorous scavengers. Their diet consists of small mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles. Jackals can eat prey that have been left by larger animals and have been known to seek carrion in garbage dumps

11- The coyotes

The 27 Most Fascinating Scavenger Animals 10

They base their diets on what is available. Although they mostly eat small mammals, they also eat birds, snakes and even large insects. They eat carrion although they tend to prefer fresh meat.

In the colder months, their diets include a higher proportion of fruits and vegetables. They also partner with other coyotes to hunt larger prey, such as deer. Coyotes living near populated areas eat carrion from human waste.

12- The raccoons

The 27 Most Fascinating Scavenger Animals 11

They are nocturnal mammals with an opportunistic diet as they eat almost anything they can get. In urban areas, where wildlife and fresh vegetation are limited, raccoons are more likely to eat carrion although most of their diet consists of sweet foods like fruits and invertebrates.

13- The crabs

The 27 Most Fascinating Scavenger Animals 12

They eat a variety of fish as well as other animals such as hedgehogs, starfish, sand dollars and snails. It is also known that they eat the eggs of these animals and even hunt members of their own species.

Crabs tend to be scavengers and feed on many types of dead organisms, but are known to eat other crustaceans. They also eat live plants at times.

14- The earthworm

The 27 Most Fascinating Scavenger Animals 13

They feed by ingesting soil rich in organic matter, but dead plant material can be collected at night from the soil surface and then consumed. Earthworms do not feed on living plant material.

As carrioners, they pick up partially decomposed material (fallen leaves, etc.) and drag it to their burrow - they recycle the plant material and move it to the ground where other organisms can break it down.

fifteen- The water beetles

The 27 Most Fascinating Scavenger Animals 14

They find themselves swimming in swampy freshwater ponds all over the world, especially in warm regions. The water beetles have smooth, oval, dark brown or black bodies and short, hairy, leg-shaped antennae. They vary in length from several to about 4 cm (up to 1.6 inches).

The scavenger beetle of water nothing moving the center and the hind legs of each side. Most adults (for example, Hydrophilus Y Tropisternus ) Feed on algae or decomposing matter and some species of water beetles are predators.

16- The prawns

They are crustaceans and have a diet similar to that of other crustaceans. Newborn prawns eat modestly as they often feed on plankton from the surface of the water. They also eat small sea plants and can eat seaweed, as long as they are small enough to eat.

Prawns or prawns grow quickly after their first year, and this is when they can swim to look for a variety of food. As natural scavengers, they consume almost anything small enough to eat, including mud, sand, dead fish and crabs.

Prawns are one of the rare types of animals that take advantage of their own species to survive, especially if there is a food shortage in their natural habitat. Prawns are sensitive to light and only hunt at night.

17- Cockroaches

They are carrioners that eat all kinds of materials, including paper, clothing and animals and dead plants. They are adapted to live in almost any environment and have been on Earth longer than any other winged insect, more than 340 million years.

18- Sea Eels

They feed on a variety of live and dead prey. Eels are scavengers, but also, eels are active hunters, feeding on live prey. Small fish often make up a large percentage of the eel diet.

19- The California Condor

They eat carrion, prefer the corpses of large dead animals like deer, cattle and sheep. However, they are also known to eat smaller animals such as rodents and rabbits.

twenty- The seagulls

They are long-winged sea birds, the best-known birds Or birds of the sea. They are strictly coastal. Seagulls are mostly scavengers, often gather at garbage dumps and docks to eat remains of dead fish.

21- The flies

They are saprophytes (eat excrements of other animals), are also scavengers and not decomposing as is commonly thought. The decomposers and scavengers work together to destroy animals and dead plants. Flies find and eat dead plants and animals, breaking them into pieces while eating them.

22- The rats

They are often scavengers, but also predators (especially mammals, insects and small birds) when the situation requires it and, of course, are a kind of prey for many animals around the world.

Animals in this position in the food web have instincts and adaptations to help them become good hunters and defend or escape from predators. Its scavenger nature is what makes rats make rats feed on what they can get.

23- The magpies

They have a strong beak with a sharp edge, which can be used to cut meat, dig up invertebrates. Their main diet in summer are grass invertebrates such as beetles, flies, caterpillars, spiders, worms and leather vests.

In winter, they eat more plant material, such as wild fruits, berries and grains, with house scraps and food extracted from poultry tables or chicken runs, pet food, etc. They eat carrion at all times and catch small mammals and birds. Occasionally, magpies feed on larger animals like young rabbits.

24- The ants

They eat practically anything and take advantage of the flesh of any dead insect that gets in their way. They feed on butterflies and certain coleoptera and work not to feed individually but collect carrion for the whole community.

25- The Centipede and the Millipede

As predators, it feeds on animals as diverse as insects, spiders, reptiles and birds. As predators and herbivores, most millipede species feed on decaying plant material and germinate seedlings.

26- The yellow jacket wasps

They feed on flies, mosquitoes, spiders, caterpillars and eat carrion (fallen fruits, dead insects).

27- The lizards

They have a varied diet but usually feed on vegetables, eggs, insects and carrion.


  1. Paxala. (2016). Scavenger animals. 18-1-2017, from
  2. West, K. (2011). Scavenger. 18-1-2017, National Geographic Society.
  3. IAC Publishing, LLC. (2016). What do coyotes eat?. 18-1-2017, from
  4. Mc Morrow, S. (2014). Hedgehog. 18-1-2017, from
  5. Keats, D. (2014). The History of Remoras and Sharks. 18-1-2017, by LeisurePro & Aquaviews.
  6. (2016). What do prawns eat?. 18-1-2017, from IAC Publishing, LLC Website.
  7. The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. (2012). Water scavenger beetle. 18-1-2017, of Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
  8. BioTopics. (2017). The Earthworm. 18-1-2017, BioTopics.
  9. (2016). Are flies decomposers? 18-1-2017, IAC Publishing, LLC.
  10. RSPB ORG. (2007). Magpies. 18-1-2017, of The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
  11. DeAngelis, J. (2004). Scavenger Wasps. 18-1-2017, from LivingWithBugs, LLC.

Loading ..

Recent Posts

Loading ..