Q:

What eats dead organisms?

A:

Quick Answer

Animals that eat dead organisms include vultures, fly larvae, wolves, wild boar and the Virginia opossum. Vultures are found in nearly every continent and live in any habitat where there's a steady food supply.

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Full Answer

The Old World group of vultures are are found in Asia, Europe and Africa, while the New World vultures are found in North and South America. The latter have adapted to eating carrion by having bald heads and necks that aren't fouled by carrion and an immune system powerful enough for them to remain healthy after eating decaying and possibly diseased flesh. In some cultures, vultures are even encouraged to eat human corpses.

Maggots, the larvae of flies, not only feed on dead material but also have life cycle that is so precisely timed that forensic scientists can determine an organism's time of death depending on the size and species of maggot.

Though wolves are known as excellent and strategic hunters, they will also eat carrion. Wild boar tend to be omnivorous, which means they eat just about anything that is available, including dead material.

Native to North America, the Virginia opossum is, like the wild boar, an opportunistic feeder that also eats carrion if it is on offer.

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