Scavenger also called (Carrion-feeder) is an animal that feeds partly or wholly on the bodies of dead animals. Many invertebrates, such as carrion beetles, live almost entirely on decomposing animal matter. While scavenging generally refers to carnivores feeding on carrion, it is also a herbivorous feeding behavior. Scavengers play an important role in the ecosystem by consuming dead animal and plant material. Decomposers and detritivores complete this process, by consuming the remains left by scavengers.
A scavenger is an organism that mostly consumes decaying biomass, such as meat or rotting plant material. Many scavengers are a type of carnivore, which is an organism that eats meat. While most carnivores hunt and kill their prey, scavengers usually consume animals that have either died of natural causes or been killed by another carnivore.
Scavengers are a part of the food web, a description of which organisms eat which other organisms in the wild. Organisms in the food web are grouped into trophic, or nutritional, levels. There are three trophic levels. Autotrophs, organisms that produce their food, are the first trophic level. These include plants and algae. Herbivores, or organisms that consume plants and other autotrophs, are the second trophic level. Scavengers, other carnivores, and omnivores, organisms that consume both plants and animals, are the third trophic level.
Scavengers play an important role in the food web. They keep an ecosystem free of the bodies of dead animals, or carrion. Scavengers break down this organic material and recycle it into the ecosystem as nutrients.
Some birds are scavengers. Vultures only eat the bodies of dead animals. Vultures have many biological adaptations that make them well-suited to being scavengers. Most have excellent eyesight and a strong sense of smell. They use these keen senses to locate rotting carrion while they are soaring high over land.
Examples of Scavenger
- Spotted hyena
- Striped hyena