Top carnivores, also known as level four carnivores, are the most dominate in a food web. They prey on most everything in their environment that is below them. What makes the top carnivores is the fact that nothing actually feeds on them.

Black Bears- Ursus americanus

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- The black bear was once found throughout North Carolina and the eastern United States. In North Carolina, black bears are now found only in the eastern coastal plain and in the western mountains.
-Although they are classified as carnivores, black bears are actually omnivorous, eating many types of plant and animal material. Grasses, green leaves, and other plants.

Black bears require extensive amounts of land with little disturbance by man, a major limiting factor in their numbers.
-Did you know?Black bears are not true hibernators. During their winter dormant period, though, they do not eat, drink, urinate, or defecate, but may wake up if disturbed.
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man. Average life span in the wild:20 years.

Gray fox- Urocyon cinereogentus
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-Gray foxes range throughout the US, except the northwestern quarter, as well as northern Mexico and Baja California. We have gray foxes in our Carolina mountains, but they are rarer on our coast.

-It feeds on cottontail rabbits, mice, and other small mammals, birds, eggs, insects, plant material, and fruits.
-Gray foxes prefer woody, brushy habitats, unlike the red fox which prefers more open habitats.

Bobcat- Felis rufus
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-Bobcats occur frequently in the southern half of North America but are rarely found in midwestern states. They are common in the mountains of the Carolinas and the coastal plain as far north as the Great Dismal Swamp.
-Bobcats are solitary hunters that prey mostly on small mammals such as rabbits and rodents, although they will also eat birds and even large animals like the white-tail deer.
- Bobcats occupy a variety of habitats where there are dense thickets, including coastal swamps and upland forests.

Red fox- Vulpes vulepsexternal image red-fox-sleeping.jpgexternal image
-Red foxes are found throughout much of North America. They occur throughout much of the Carolina mountains and piedmont but are rare to absent in the eastern coastal plain.-Mice are often eaten, especially during the winter months, and cottontail rabbits are also an important part of their diet. -They are found mostly in areas with interspersed croplands, old fields, and woodlots, especially along the edges formed by these habitats.

Red wolf- Canis rufus

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-They once roamed throughout much of the southeastern United States but have been eliminated from almost all of their natural range.

-Most of their food consists of smaller animals such as rabbits, raccoons, rodents, and birds.
-Preferred habitats of the red wolf include large amounts of upland and swamp forests with thick cover.

Coyote- Canis latrans

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-The coyote has always been common throughout southeast Alaska, southwest Canada, and the western United States.

-The coyote prefers a habitat that is fielded with brushy edges, but will sometimes inhabit open fields and wooded areas.
-The coyote’s diets consists of many things including mice, rabbits, squirrels, and other small mammals as well as birds, frogs, toads, snakes, insects, and many types of fruit.
River otters- Lutra canadensis

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-River otters can be found in a variety of freshwater habitats including streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, and marshes.

-Otters feed on fish, snakes, turtles, frogs, crayfish, and almost anything they can catch.

Red tailed hawk- Buteo jamaicensis

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-The Red-tailed Hawk is found in most common in areas in Western North Carolina.

-Red-tailed Hawks live mainly in deciduous forested areas and adjacent fields and forest openings.
-They hunt for a variety of prey including rats, mice, squirrels, rabbits, reptiles, amphibians, and even insects.

Great horned owl- Bubo virginianus

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-Great Horned Owls are found throughout much of North America, inhabiting primarily dry, upland hardwood forests.

-They are powerful, nocturnal hunters feeding on a variety of prey animals such as rabbits, rodents, and other small mammals and birds, including other smaller owls.

Cougar- Felis concolor
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-Although once found throughout much of North America, cougars are now absent from many regions where they were once common, including western North Carolina.

-Cougars are secretive, solitary hunters that feed primarily on white-tailed deer but will also eat smaller game such as opossums, rabbits, mice, and even insects if food supplies are limited.
-Cougars can occupy a variety of habitats from coastal swamps to mountain slopes. These large predators require extensive, undisturbed forested areas that also support adequate white-tailed deer populations.
- The Eastern Cougar was listed as Endangered on June 4, 1973 under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (as amended).