Carnivora (Bears, Dogs, Cats, Seals and Allies) and Families | Skulls Unlimited International, Inc. 1-800-659-SKULL

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Bears, Dogs, Cats, Seals and Allies

Carnivore means "flesh-eater", and although this may refer to any mammal dining exclusively on other animals, is also the order assigned by taxonomists to include dogs, cats, bears and weasels. In actuality, many of these species are omnivorous, eating both plants and animals. All carnivores share special adaptations for life as predators, such as forward-facing eyes and large slicing canines. An essential part of the balance of nature, carnivores feed on many other animals, keeping their populations at moderate levels. Carnivores vary greatly in size ranging from the least weasel, weighing under two ounces, to the 1700 pound brown bear. Carnivore skulls are heavy with strong jaw attachments. The articulation of the lower jaw permits only open and shut movements (not side to side). Carnivores teeth are always rooted. Most carnivores have six incisors in the top jaw and six incisors in the bottom. However, two exceptions include the sloth bear and the sea otter. The sloth bear has only four incisors in the top jaw, lacking the two central incisors, allowing it to suck up ants and termites. The sea otter has only four lower incisors.

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FAMILIES in the Class Carnivora

Canidae ( Dogs, Wolves, Foxes etc. )

Canidae (Dogs, Wolves, Foxes etc.)
The Family Canidae is comprised of thirty-four species of wild dogs found throughout the world. They range from small foxes, coyotes, and jackals to large wolves and wild dogs, such as the dingo of Australia. Species may inhabit all terrains, from hot deserts to arctic ice fields.

Felidae ( Lions, Tigers, Cats etc. )

Felidae (Lions, Tigers, Cats etc.)
The family Felidae is comprised entirely of cats. There are thirty-seven species are found throughout the world. Cats possess some impressive traits such as large eyes for good vision, sharp retractable claws and long slender canine teeth. All these combined make cats some of the most effective predators alive today.

Herpestidae ( Mongooses, Cusimanse, etc. )

Herpestidae (Mongooses, Cusimanse, etc.)
The family Herpestidae consists of 39 species of Mongoose found in Asia, Africa and Madagascar. Herpestidae not only resemble the Viverids in appearance and behavior, but also overlap in most of their range. Herpestids are primarily carnivorous and are very adapt at hunting prey which may include everything from insects to rabbits.

Hyaenidae ( Hyenas & Aardwolves )

Hyaenidae (Hyenas & Aardwolves)
This small and very specialized family is comprised of only three living species of hyena and one species of aardwolf. The aardwolf is a small fragile creature who exists exclusively on termites while hyenas, on the other hand, are large predators with heavy heads, necks, and forequarters. The jaws of hyenas are also built strong and the skulls are crowned with a large sagittal crest for muscle attachment giving the animal the ability to crush and consume bones; even those of elephants.

Mephitidae ( Skunks & Stink Badgers )

Mephitidae (Skunks & Stink Badgers)
The family Mephitidae, recently split from the family Mustelidae, consists of twelve species of skunks found in North America, South America and Asia. Skunks, when threatened, can spray a noxious odor that will cause respiratory irritation, nausea, and burning of the eyes. This effective defense causes potential predators to think twice about dining on members of this family.

Mustelidae ( Ferrets, Badgers, Otters, Weasels etc. )

Mustelidae (Ferrets, Badgers, Otters, Weasels etc.)
The family Mustelidae includes the worlds sixty- five species of Weasels, Badgers, and Otters. It also includes the worlds smallest carnivore; the American Least Weasel. Mustelids may be either diurnal or nocturnal and may inhabit trees, burrows, or water. They are mainly flesh-eaters and use their keen sense of smell to locate and capture prey.

Nandiniidae ( African Palm Civets )

Nandiniidae (African Palm Civets)
The family Nandiniidae consists of one species, the African Palm Civet. Also known as the Two-spotted Palm Civet, nandinia are native to forested regions of Africa, where it usually inhabits trees. Its diet is omnivorous, and includes rodents, insects, eggs, carrion, fruit, birds and fruit bats. Nandinia are generally solitary and nocturnal. This species was originally classified in the family Viverridae.

Odobenidae ( Walruses )

Odobenidae (Walruses)
The family Odobenidae possess only one living member, the walrus. The walrus, in many ways, is a transition between the other two pinniped families. Similar to true seals (Phocids), Odobenids have no external ears, but do move similarly to seal lions and fur seals (Otarids). Many taxonomist recognize two distinct subspecies of walrus, the Atlantic and the Pacific.

Otariidae ( Sea LIons & Fur Seals )

Otariidae (Sea LIons & Fur Seals)
There are 16 members of the family Otariidae. Called "sea lions" or "fur seals", this group of pinnipeds are distinguishable from the true seals by their small external ears (true seals do not have external ears). Additionally, this family is better adapted to terrestrial locomotion than the true seals.

Phocidae ( Seals )

Phocidae (Seals)
All members of the family Phocidae are considered true seals. Members of this family are also called "earless seals" or "crawling seals" due to their lack of external ears and their terrestrial locomotion. There are 18 living members of this family.

Procyonidae ( Raccoons, Coatis & Ringtails )

Procyonidae (Raccoons, Coatis & Ringtails)
The Procyonidae family consists of 19 species including raccoons, ringtails, coatimundis, olingos, the lesser panda and the kinkajou. Procyonids are omnivorous, feeding primarily on small vertebrates, insects, crustaceans, fruit and berries. All procyonids use plantigrade locomotion, in that, they walk on the flat sole of their foot as opposed to faster digitigrade species that walk on their toes (deer, antelope, dogs, cats, etc.)

Ursidae ( Bears )

Ursidae (Bears)
The eight species of bears of the world all belong to the family Ursidae. These large, heavy animals occur in a variety of habitats ranging from arctic ice floes to tropical rain forest. All species except the polar bear go through a period of deep sleep during winter. This sleep may last all winter but is not considered true hibernation.

Viverridae ( Palm Civets, Genets Binturongs etc. )

Viverridae (Palm Civets, Genets Binturongs etc.)
The Viverridae family consists of civets, genets and linsangs. These small to medium sized mammals are native to parts of Asia and Africa. Viverrids are primarily predators but at times may feed on vegetation or carrion. Most viverrids have anal scent glands that produce a foul odor used for marking territory and as a defense.

Various Carnivore Products

Various Carnivore Products ()
This page is where we have lumped products that contain multiple carnivore species or specimens.