Predatory mammals: description and types

Predatory animals are very common all over the planet, a variety of different.

Some of them are beautiful and graceful, others clumsy Bumpkin that doesn’t make them any less dangerous.

Consider which characteristics helped to unite in one unit such a large number of mammals.

Description of the squad

Beasts of prey is a squad of chordate mammals. They belong to the carnivorous – that is, in food mainly consume animal food. To earn their living, such mammals have to hunt, otherwise will have to settle for carrion. Hunted predators are vertebrates. Invertebrates do eat small prey: sloth, mongoose, foxes Bolshie. Individual members of the squad prefer vegetarian food, this Panda, civet, kinkajou.


Predators are found almost all over the planet, from hot deserts of Africa to the permafrost of Antarctica and Antarctica. The oldest representatives of the order are viverrids.

Social behavior depends largely on the method of production of food:

  • Some live in colonies (meerkats, sea lions, weasels).
  • Others are favored for hunting (wolves, dogs, hyenas, lions).
  • And there are loners ( leopards, wolverines, marten).

Animals-predators of different sizes, can meet as real giants, for example, a sea elephant, weighing several tons, and very little.

However, despite such significant differences, many species of predators have much in common:

  • Sharp teeth, well-developed fangs.
  • The dental formula land carnivores: incisors 3/3, canines 1/1,premolars 4/4, molars 3/3.
  • The presence of the carnivorous tooth is two molar molar of an animal with two sides of the jaw, which increased in size and gained pointed edges. It is so sharp that helps the predator to grind bones and crush tendons.
  • Zygomatic arch clear of the skull.
  • Powerful temporal muscles help animals – predators exert strong bites.
  • Special structure jaw: the ability to move temporomandibular joint is exclusively up and down.
  • Support on the whole foot or partially on the fingers when driving.
  • 4-5 fingers with claws on the limbs (some felids and viverrids the claws retracted).
  • Most of the body covered with hair.
  • Long, rarely short tail.

Predators and have a similar internal structure:

  • The digestive system includes a short intestine and stomach.
  • Large brain and furrows on the bark lead to complex behavior and abundance of reflexes and instincts.
  • The presence of the uterus in females.
  • Location of mammary glands on the abdomen.

The offspring appears most often once a year (small – a few times a year), babies are born weak, helpless, blind and in need of care parent. Pregnancy may be different in different species, averaging from 2 to 4 months.


The squad has more than 260 different species and about 110 genera. Many researchers divide the predators into two major groups:

  • Land (live on land).
  • Pinnipeds (live in water).

Carnivorous families who settled on land at the moment is seven:

  • canids (wolf);
  • cat;
  • bear;
  • Cunha;
  • Coon;
  • hyenas;
  • viverrids.

And pinnipeds are represented by three families:

  • eared seals;
  • walrus;
  • Tyulenovo.

Jaw pinnipeds is suitable for holding slippery fish, they consist of incisors (1 or 2 pairs), fairly modest canines and smooth molars (they may be from 12 to 24). The limbs of these animals adapted to their marine way of life and represent the fins, the fingers of which are United, leathery membranes.

May be found in the classification by suborders.

Sobrannyh to the suborder are family:

  • Coon;
  • pooches;
  • bear;
  • Cunha;
  • eared seals;
  • walrus;
  • skunk;
  • Pandit;
  • real seals.

To the suborder kitoobraznyex:

  • cat;
  • hyenas;
  • viverrids;
  • mangustov;
  • nandiniidae;
  • Madagascar’s viverra.

Briefly describe each family.



Small in size, the representatives of predators, the holders of fluffy dense fur, usually have a long tail. List of animals: raccoon, coati, raccoon cat.

Dog (canids)

Their list is very high: it’s foxes, and foxes, and wild and raccoon dogs, and wolves, and manongi. Also family includes jackals, coyotes, dogs, dingoes.

The distinctive features of these predators are:

  • Body size large or medium.
  • Erect ears.
  • The elongated head.
  • On hind legs the 4 fingers on the front – 5.
  • Claws are not drawn into the pads.
  • Thick, fluffy fur.

Common everywhere, except Antarctica, some are favored, others live alone.


A large massive animal with powerful legs and impressive claws. Among them is the largest among land predators – polar bear.


Owners of small flexible body with thick fur, usually valuable. Members of the family many: ferrets, Martens, otters, weasels, Sables, stoats, otters, badgers.

Eared seals

They offer a wide variety of different body length and mass: from one meter to 3.5 from 100 kg to over a ton.

For this family are characterized by the fact that males are many times larger than females. That holders of an elongated body with a short tail, large fins, have back claws.

There are such predators in the Pacific and Indian oceans. The representatives of the: sea lions, seals.


Marine mammals of the family of walrus are common in the Northern latitudes. The only member of the family – the walrus, a large pinnipeds with large tusks. This sea giant has a thick skin, and broad face “decorates” a lot of hard vibrissa-the whiskers. Limbs allow the animals to move well on land. In these animals there is a clear hierarchy – the more walrus tusks, the more important the group.


Recently, this family was United with the mustelids, but modern research has allowed to allocate it separately. Features members of the family:

  • Smelly anal glands that produce a special substance with an unpleasant odor.
  • Color: white spots or stripes on a black background.
  • A fluffy tail.
  • A strong physique.
  • Small limbs are surprisingly sharp claws.

Almost all types are concentrated in America, prefer to settle in plains or mountainous terrain. Lifestyle, being active at night, do eat insects, birds, snakes and small rodents.


Previously settled North America, Africa, Eurasia, but until now lived only one representative species – the red Panda living in South-East Asia, in the forests, inaccessible to humans. Now look on the verge of extinction.

Earless seal

The family includes the seal, sea elephant, lionfish, sea leopards. Different fusiform shaped body tapering to the head, front and hind flippers have claws. Can’t rely on the hindquarters, so overland travel is comically awkward. Feed the seals are shellfish, fish, krill, at least – the penguins.



This major collection brings together animals that to hunt silently sneak up to the victim or lying in wait for her, rarely feline pursue.

Predatory animals are very diverse – from small spotted cats whose weight is barely a kilogram, to the tigers-giants.

Claws to pull almost all felids, except the Sumatran cats and cheetahs. They have less teeth than other predators, so the face seems more rounded and short. Most species have a long tail, well-developed sight and hearing, smell is much weaker. Representatives: domestic cats, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, lions, jaguars, Cougars, Panthers, lynx, Pallas ‘ cats. Previously existed and fearsome saber-toothed cats, giants with huge fangs, but to this day they have not lived.


Despite the fact that hyenas are similar in appearance with dogs, they belong to the subspecies kitoobraznyh. These animals possess a thick head, short hind legs, a sloping back. Newtagname claws, the tail is shaggy, coarse long wool forms a dorsal mane. Examples of predators: spotted, brown, striped hyenas, earth wolf. Prefer to live in the steppes, savannas and semi-deserts of Africa and Asia.


Much in the appearance of members of the family makes them look like weasels: it’s lean and small body and a long tail, and short legs. However, this separate group of predatory animals, the food which consists of small vertebrates. Tail length is often equal to body length, ears small, set wide apart, large eyes. List of representatives: civet, binturong, genette.


The family of these medium-sized predators were isolated from the civet. Color – gray or brown, often plain. Have small rounded ears, which distinguish them from viverrids. Representatives of mongooses and meerkats.


The only member of the family – African palm civet, the shape of the body resembling a cat, but with short legs. The color often grayish, dull. Fur short, harsh.

Madagascar’s viverra

These predators live only in Madagascar, the family includes only 10 species, differing from other physique. Examples: fossa, ring-tailed and bar Mungo, fanaloka and others.

From different families may be a different way of hunting: if hounds are chasing the prey until its complete exhaustion, the cat attacked suddenly, silently approaching the victim.

In the life of human beasts of prey play an important role: many of them are objects of the fur trade or farming. Others help to control the spread of rodents and other small animal pests.

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