Omnivorous Animals in the Desert

Written by john lindell
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Omnivorous Animals in the Desert
The omnivorous raven can grow to lengths of 2 feet. (raven at grand canyon image by Sunshine Photos from Fotolia.com)

Different types of desert mammals and birds are omnivores in North America. These creatures take advantage of their hunting skills to capture and consume prey and they forage for plant matter such as fruits and seeds. The desert omnivores have a diet that allows them to subsist on different kinds of foods, a trait that is helpful in the arid ecosystems in which they live.

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Coatimundi

The coatimundi is a desert omnivore that the Big Cat Rescue website describes as resembling a raccoon that has been "stretched." The coatimundi is indeed a relative of the raccoon, with a weight of between 3.18 and 5.44kg. and a length that can be up to 54 inches, with half of that its banded tail. The coatimundi frequents desert canyons and is an active feeder in the daytime, spending its nights in the safety of trees. The coati can climb with ease, which helps as it forages for fruit in the branches. The coati will consume only fruit when this food is plentiful, but can catch and eat rodents, insects and lizards as well. The coati carries its lengthy tail upright most of the time and uses a sensitive nose to locate its food.

Omnivorous Animals in the Desert
The coati has a banded tail that comprises half its total length. (Coati image by Dawn from Fotolia.com)

Raven

The raven is the crow family's largest member, with some as long as 2 feet and possessing wingspans in the range of 56 inches. The raven's omnivorous diet includes large amounts of carrion, as this scavenger will locate carcases and feed freely from them. The raven is capable of killing and eating animals such as snakes, lizards, mice and other birds. The vegetarian portion of this bird's diet includes berries, fruit, seeds and nuts. The common raven is slightly larger than the Chihuahuan raven, which shares a similar range with its bigger cousin but occurs in the lower elevations according to the "National Audubon Society Field Guide to Birds."

Coyote

Few animals are as successful as the coyote, a creature with a range now greater than it was before the settling of the United States. The major reason for this is that the coyote, a canine larger than a fox but smaller than a wolf, can eat nearly anything. In the desert setting, the coyote's diet changes along with the seasons. The coyote consumes plenty of plant matter when it is available, eating such things as the seedpods of the mesquite tree and the fruits of several species of cacti when they ripen. Prey such as rodents, birds, rabbits, snakes, lizards, rabbits and insects are edible. The coyote often hunts in tandem with others of its kind and the animal is clever enough to wait close by while predators such as badgers frighten hapless rodents from their dens and right into the coyote's waiting jaws.

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