A carnivore , meaning "meat eater" (Latin, caro, genitive carnis, meaning "meat" or "flesh" and vorare meaning "to devour"), is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of animal tissue, whether through predation or scavenging. Animals that depend solely on animal flesh for their nutrient requirements are called obligate carnivores while those that also consume non-animal food are called facultative carnivores. Omnivores also consume both animal and non-animal food, and, apart from the more general definition, there is no clearly defined ratio of plant to animal material that would distinguish a facultative carnivore from an omnivore. A carnivore that sits at the top of the food chain is termed an apex predator. The word "carnivore" also may refer to the mammalian order Carnivora, but this is somewhat misleading. While many Carnivora meet the definition of being meat eaters, not all do, and even fewer are true obligate carnivores (see below). For example, most species of bears are actually omnivorous, except for the giant panda, which is almost exclusively herbivorous, and the exclusively meat-eating polar bear, which lives in the Arctic, where few plants grow. In addition, there are plenty of carnivorous species that are not members of Carnivora. Outside the animal kingdom, there are several genera containing carnivorous plants and several phyla containing carnivorous fungi. The former are predominantly insectivores, while the latter prey mostly on microscopic invertebrates, such as nematodes, amoebae and springtails.
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