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 vultures, hawks, eagles,[1] hyenas,[2] Virginia Opossum,[3] Tasmanian Devils,[4] coyotes,[5] Komodo dragons,[6] and burying beetles.[7] Many invertebrates like the burying beetles, as well as maggots of calliphorid flies and Flesh-flies also eat carrion, playing an important role in recycling nitrogen and carbon in 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.[citation needed]

Sometimes carrion is used to describe an infected carcass that is diseased and shouldn't be touched. An example of carrion being used to describe dead and rotting bodies in literature may be found in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar:

A Coyote feeding on elk carrion in Lamar Valley during winter.
Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.

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."

In Islam, it is forbidden to eat rotting meat.[7]


  1. ^ Hovenden, Frank. "Comox Valley Naturalists Society: The Carrion Eaters". Comox Valley Naturalists Society. May 7, 2010. [1]
  2. ^ "San Diego Zoo's Animal Bytes: Striped hyena". San Diego Zoo. May 7, 2010. [2]
  3. ^ McDougall, Len. "Diet". The Encyclopedia of Tracks and Scats. Connecticut: The Lyon's Press, 2004. Print. (Page 274) [3]
  4. ^ "San Diego Zoo's Animal Bytes: Tasmanian Devil". San Diego Zoo. May 7, 2010. [4]
  5. ^ Stegemann, Eileen. "Skull Science: Coyote". NYS Department of Environmental Conservation April 2006: 1. [5]
  6. ^ Irvin, Randall. Attachment and Colonization of Pseudomonas aerugionsa: Role of the Surface Structures. Pseudomonas aeruginosa as an Opportunistic Pathogen. 1993.
  7. ^ Wood, J. G.. "Chapter VII". Insects Abroad. London: Longman, Greens And Co., 1892. Print. (Page 82) [6]
  8. ^

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  • Carrión — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Carrión puede referirse a: El río Carrión, un afluente del Pisuerga que pasa por la ciudad de Palencia (España); Carrión de los Céspedes, municipio español perteneciente a la provincia de Sevilla, en Andalucía;… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Carrión — oder Carrion ist der Name folgender Personen: Benjamín Carrión (1898–1979), ecuadorianischer Schriftsteller Luisito Carrión (* 1962), puerto ricanischer Salsamusiker Manuel Ramírez de Carrión (1579–1652), Taubstummen Pädagoge Pedro Carrión (*… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Carrion — Carrión ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Benjamín Carrión (1898–1979), ecuadorianischer Schriftsteller Pedro Carrión (* 1971), kubanischer Boxer Ulises Carrión (1941–1989), mexikanischer Künstler und Verleger Carrión heißt ein Ort in… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Carrión — puede referirse a: ● El río Carrión, un afluente del Pisuerga que pasa por la ciudad de Palencia (España). ● Carrión de los Céspedes, municipio español pertenenciente a la provincia de Sevilla, en Andalucía. ● Carrión de los Condes, municipio… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Carrion — Car ri*on, a. Of or pertaining to dead and putrefying carcasses; feeding on carrion. [1913 Webster] A prey for carrion kites. Shak. [1913 Webster] {Carrion beetle} (Zo[ o]l.), any beetle that feeds habitually on dead animals; also called {sexton… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • carrion — early 13c., carione, from Anglo Fr. carogne (O.N.Fr. caroigne; O.Fr. charogne, 12c., carrion, corpse, Mod.Fr. charogne), from V.L. *caronia carcass (Cf. It. carogna, Sp. carroña carrion ), from L. caro meat (see CARNAGE (Cf …   Etymology dictionary

  • carrion — [kar′ē ən] n. [ME carioun < Anglo Fr carogne < VL * caronia, carcass < L caro: see HARVEST] 1. the decaying flesh of a dead body, esp. when regarded as food for scavenging animals 2. anything very disgusting or repulsive adj. 1. of or… …   English World dictionary

  • Carrión — Caractéristiques Longueur 179 km Bassin 3 351 km2 Bassin collecteur …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Carrĭon — Carrĭon, 1) C. de los Condes, Stadt am Carrion in der spanischen Provinz Palencia, ehemals befestigt, Hauptort der gleichnamigen Grafschaft, 10 Kirchen, Weinbau; 3000 Ew.; 2) Fluß daselbst, entspringt am Südabhange des Cantabrischen Gebirges,… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Carrion — Car ri*on, n. [OE. caroyne, OF. caroigne, F. charogne, LL. caronia, fr. L. caro flesh Cf. {Crone}, {Crony}.] 1. The dead and putrefying body or flesh of an animal; flesh so corrupted as to be unfit for food. [1913 Webster] They did eat the dead… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • carrion — index body (person), corpse Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

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