Carrion (from the Latin caro, meaning meat) refers to the carcass of a dead animal. Carrion is an important food source for large carnivores and omnivores in most ecosystems. Examples of carrion-eaters or scavengers, include hyenas, vultures, Virginia Opossum, Tasmanian Devils, Black Bears, Bald Eagles, Raccoons and Blue-tongued lizards. Many invertebrates, such as worms and carrion beetles (family Silphidae) also eat carrion and play an important role in recycling animal remains.
Carrion begins to decay the moment of the animal's death, and it will increasingly attract insects and breed bacteria. Not long after the animal has died, its body will begin to smell of a foul odour, caused by the presence of bacteria, and the emission of cadaverine and putrescine. Some plants and fungi smell like decomposing carrion and attract insects that aid in reproduction. Plants that exhibit this behavior are known as carrion flowers. Stinkhorn mushrooms are examples of fungi with this characteristic.