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Land and Marine Carnivores: Carnivora

Behavior And Reproduction

Many carnivores are solitary creatures, except for mating pairs and mother-offspring groups. The majority are not antisocial, as they share overlapping territories and congregate at abundant food sources. Some belong to social groups, in which strict rules are observed. For example, carnivores "talk" to one another through scent marking, or the depositing of anal secretions, urine, and feces. They also use a variety of vocalizations. Some use body postures to show dominance or submission.

The typical mating system among carnivores is polygyny (puh-LIH-juh-nee) in which a male has two or more partners. Some, like canids, are monogamous (muh-NAH-guh-mus), with a male and a female mating with just with each other. Pinnipeds usually breed on land. Males arrive on land to stake out a territory. Females arrive later to give birth to the previous year's pup before mating. The father departs for the sea soon after mating, leaving the mother to raise the pup. When the pup is able to survive on its own, mother and pup leave land for the water, going their separate ways.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsLand and Marine Carnivores: Carnivora - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Carnivores And People, Conservation Status - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT