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Small Predators and Scavengers

angry-raccoon image
Raccoon another small predator

If wolves, bears and other predators are at the top of the food chain and plants are at the bottom, what’s in the middle? How about small predators and animals which scavenge for food? These animals include skunks, weasels, hyenas, stoats, mongoose and raccoons.

Skunk, a Small Predator Image - Science for Kids All About Small Predators and Scavengers
All About Small Predators and Scavengers: Skunk belongs to small predators.

Small predators are carnivorous, but most of them eat other foods like dog food, vegetables, fruit and even garbage. Most of them are nocturnal, meaning they hunt at night and sleep during the day. They’re also really smart. Some small predators are obviously wild. You wouldn’t try to catch a hyena, right? Others seem like they’d make good pets. Raccoons look cute, but they scratch and bite if frightened. They’re wild animals, after all.

Angry Raccoon Image
Raccoon another small predator

Fun Facts about Small Predators and Scavengers for Kids

  • Many small predators belong to the weasel family. Weasels, skunks, badgers, stoats, otters, wolverines and minks are all related.
  • Hyenas and mongoose are not related to weasels.
  • Most of these animals only live two to three years. Many are hit by cars or eaten by larger predators.
  • Small predators and scavengers usually have good hearing and a strong sense of smell. Their eyesight might be weak.
  • Most small predators are nocturnal.
Brown Mongoose Image
Mongoose eats other animals. That’s why it is a (small) predator.

Small Predator and Scavenger Vocabulary

  1. Predator: An animal that eats other animals
  2. Carnivorous: Meat eater
  3. Nocturnal: Awake at night, sleeps during the day

Learn More All About Small Predators and Scavengers

Watch this interesting video all about small predators and scavengers:

A video documentary of a hyena scavenging the remains of a lion kill.

Small Predator and Scavenger Q&A

Question: Do small predators and scavengers help humans?

Answer: Sometimes they eat livestock, garbage or garden vegetables, but they also eat mice and other rodents that carry disease and eat our food. Small predators are usually helpful.


Question: Are small predators endangered?

Answer: Most small predators have many babies over their lifetime.  They eat many types of food so they usually don’t go hungry. They can live almost anywhere. They are not endangered.


Important Members of Small Predators and Scavengers







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