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Carnivora




An order of the mammals (class Mammalia) that includes the seals, raccoons, bears, wolves, badgers, lions, tigers, and pandas. All, except the pandas, are meat-eaters and have large canine teeth, pointed cheek teeth, and claws on all the toes. Most Carnivora hunt their prey, sometimes in organized packs. Mustelids – weasels, martins, minks, and the wolverine – make up the largest family. The cats are the most specialized killers among the carnivores; dogs, bears, and racoons are much less exclusively meat-eaters; and civets, mongooses, and their relatives also have a mixed diet. Related to the civets, but in a separate family are the hyenas, large dog-like scavengers. More distantly related to living land members of Carnivora are the seals, sea lions, and walruses; they evolved from ancient land forms who gave rise to early weasel- and civet-like animals. See also carnivore.


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