The word "carnivore" conjures up mental pictures of wolves, lions and grizzly bears. These animals are, indeed, carnivores, or meat-eating animals: They're the ones at the top of the food chain, and usually the most noticeable and most feared. But there are various other types of animals that can be classified as carnivorous, and there are a number of them that can be found in temperate forests.
Besides the larger predators such as wolves, cougars and bears, there are other meat-eaters that reside in the temperate forest. Coyotes, gray foxes, minks, weasels and skunks all subsist mainly on a meat diet. Bats, active at night, consume only insects. Smaller meat-eaters are found there as well, including the shrew: This creature is usually the size of a half-grown mouse, but it has a voracious appetite for worms, grubs and insects.
A variety of hawks and owls live in temperate forests and are, by definition, carnivores. Hawks, including Cooper's, red-shouldered and broad-winged hawks, hunt by day and kill and eat nearly anything small enough for them to handle, including squirrels, rodents and snakes. Cooper's hawks are swift and agile enough in flight to outmaneuver and catch other flying birds. Owls, such as the great horned and barred owl, are night hunters.
Reptiles are usually carnivores, although there are varieties that are herbivores or omnivores. Poisonous snakes, including timber rattlesnakes and copperheads, inhabit temperate forests; various species of nonpoisonous snakes, such as garter snakes, racers, kingsnakes and hognose snakes, also reside in this type of location. Snakes eat small mammals, birds, eggs and other reptiles. Woodland frogs and toads are mostly insect eaters.
Quantity wise, the number of species of carnivorous living things in forests is topped by insects and spiders. Insects often prey upon other insects. Certain insects, such as the praying mantis and black widow spider, prey upon their mates after breeding. Other insects, such as black flies, mosquitoes and ticks, leech off of other animals by feeding on their blood.