Published: March 14, 2010
Total Running Time: 00:05:17
Animals—like the deceased monitor lizard in this video—are a source of energy-rich food even after they die. Here we can see beetles, flies, bacteria, and other organisms feasting the lizard's carcass. They get their energy from rotting flesh, just as we get energy from the food we eat. Scavengers break down the tissues of dead animals, releasing nutrients that would otherwise remain trapped inside. This action recycles proteins and minerals from the dead animal's body, enriching the soil for plants to grow and providing food for other creatures to consume.