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A Wedge-tailed Eagle feasting on carrion (Kangaroo) in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Carrion (from the Latin caro, meaning meat) refers to the carcass of a dead animal. Carrion is an important food source for large carnivores and omnivores in most ecosystems. Examples of carrion-eaters, or scavengers, include Hyenas, Vultures, Wedge-tailed Eagles, Virginia Opossum, Tasmanian Devils, Black Bears, Komodo Dragons, Bald Eagles, Raccoons, flying squirrels, and Blue-tongued lizards. Many invertebrates, such as carrion beetles (family Silphidae), as well as maggots of calliphorid flies and sarcophagid flies also eat carrion and play an important role in recycling animal remains.

Carrion begins to decay the moment of the animal's death, and it will increasingly attract insects and breed bacteria. Not long after the animal has died, its body will begin to exude a foul odor caused by the presence of bacteria and the emission of cadaverine and putrescine.

Some plants and fungi smell like decomposing carrion and attract insects that aid in reproduction. Plants that exhibit this behavior are known as carrion flowers. Stinkhorn mushrooms are examples of fungi with this characteristic.

The word carrion is often used in Danish mythology to describe animals that have been sacrificed and animals that have been killed due to the gods' fury. Sometimes carrion is used to describe an infected carcass that is diseased and shouldn't be touched. An example of carrion in literature is in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar with its line "this foul deed shall smell above the earth with carrion men, groaning for burial" (III.i), in which the word carrion implies that the bodies are rotting and infected with disease and bacteria. Another example can be found in Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe when the title character kills an unknown bird for food but finds "its flesh was Carrion, and fit for nothing." A third example can be found in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings in a footnote in Appendix A. The dwarves resort to a mass burning of the bodies of their dead following the War of the Dwarves and Orcs "rather than leave their kin to beast or bird or carrion-orc."


Simple English

Carrion is the carcass of a dead animal. There are several kinds of animal that feed on such meat, such as vultures, hyenas, condors, or Tasmanian Devils. Carrion is an important source of food for several kinds of carnivores and omnivores.

The Carrion beetles also feed on it. Some plants fake the smell of carrion (they smell like carrion), so that they will attract insects they eat. Predators do not normally feed on carrion, they hunt and kill the animals they eat. Carrion is sometimes eaten by foxes.








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