Which Animal Species Are Carnivores?

Carnivore animal species include wolves, foxes, bears, lions and tigers. Of all the mammals, only 250 species are carnivores, such as wolverines, hyenas, fur seals, raccoons and sea lions. Carnivores are characterized by carnassial teeth that are adapted to tearing through flesh, well-developed eye sight and sharp claws, all of which aid the animals in hunting.

There are many types of carnivores, such as those that eat primarily but not only meat and those that eat carrion or decaying flesh. Foxes, coyotes and hyena all feed on carrion when they can't find fresh meat. Foxes and coyotes also, along with bears, eat plant-based material during times of food scarcity.

Scientists place seven main families under the classification of carnivore: Felidae and Canidae, or cats and dogs; Ursidae, or bears; Viverridae, or civits; and Hyaenidae, which includes both hyenas and aardwolves. Rounding out the list are Mustelidae, or mustelids; weasel-like animals; and Procyonidae, or raccoons. Of the latter two, the mustelids are possibly the oldest of all the carnivores, appearing during the Cenozoic era and diverging into cat-like and dog-like mammals.

The dog-like animals include seals, sea lions, walruses, otters and weasels, along with other canines. The cat-like fork of the tree evolved into mongooses, hyenas, civets and other feline animals.