means flesh eater, and is true of most members of this order.
Some (polar bears, leopard seals and lion) live almost exclusively
on the flesh of other vertebrates, some feed mainly on insects,
and a few are exclusively vegetarian (giant panda, red panda,
spectacled bear). Many carnivores eat both plant and animal
matter, the dietary habits varying with seasonal availability.
Carnivores range widely in size and live in a variety of habitats,
from the frigid polar extremes to the tropics, including terrestrial,
aquatic, fossorial, and arboreal forms. Some live in dens,
dig for part of their food, and most all can swim. The dog
was probably the first animal domesticated by humans;. The
canine teeth of carnivores are usually large and conical.
The premolars and molars are variously developed, reduced
or lost. The feet are either plantigrade or digitigrade and
have four or five toes, each toe ending in a claw. Most carnivores
are confined to land masses and fresh waters, except for the
polar bear and sea otter, which are marine.
Otariidae (Formerly Pinnepedia)
Phocidae (Formerly Pinnepedia)