Food chain consists of a variety of animals with distinctive eating habits. Organisms in the food web tend to be grouped into trophic or in other words nutritional levels. There are three trophic levels. It begins with the
- Autotrophs- An organisms that produce their own food like plants and algae, and are placed at the first trophic level. For example- Plants, algae, and even few bacteria.
- Herbivores- An organisms that feed on plants and other autotrophs. These are placed at the second trophic level.
- Carnivores and omnivores- They are the creatures that consume a wide variety of organisms from plants to animals to fungi and are placed at the third trophic level. Carnivores are also called as meat eaters.
The herbivores are those animals which feed only on plants and other autotrophs. They are at second trophic level. Autotrophs are called producers because they produce their own food. Herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores are consumers. Herbivores are the primary consumers while carnivores and omnivores are secondary consumers. For example- Cows, goat, giraffe, sheep, zebra, etc.
Carnivores are predators. They are at the very apex of the food chain. They hunt for food and are called as prey. Most carnivores get their food and nutrients indirectly through herbivores that feed on plants. Carnivorous animals are a crucial part of the food chain since they act as a natural population control for herbivores.
Carnivores are designed by nature to kill. They are physically meant to effectively chase, hunt, capture and consume their prey. We are used to visualizing these predators as monstrously huge, with long canine’s, dripping with saliva and claws that can tear flesh apart, but you see, they needn’t all be this huge or look so dangerous. The honey badger is a medium-sized carnivore and they happen to eat mice, squirrels and so on. Most carnivorous animals are beautifully designed to be extremely effective. For instance, take the eyes of a carnivore, which are located on the front of its head, which makes it possible for them to have depth perception. Depth perception is essential to hunting because it enables the animal to determine how far a prey is and how fast it’s moving.
Carnivorous animals also have very powerful jaws and sharp teeth, which make it possible for them to bite and hold large, strong prey. This adaptation makes carnivores successful hunters because it helps them to capture and kill their prey. Unlike herbivores, who lack these sharp teeth and are plant eaters. Hence have teeth designed for chewing vegetation, while carnivores have teeth that are designed for ripping meat from their prey. The sharp incisors and canines are for biting and tearing apart meat.
Cheetah, jaguar, leopards, lions, tigers, wolves, are are few examples of Carnivores animals.
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