Definitions and Context
Bacteria: a kind of microscopic, single-celled organisms that live just about everywhere
Context: Vultures' bald heads help them not get sick because bacteria don't have any head feathers to cling to.
Benthic: living on the bottom of the body of water
Context: Crabs and Shrimp are benthic.
Carcass: dead body of an animal
Context: A coyote is happy to feed on a carcass if it is lucky enough to find one.
Carrion: dead and rotting body of an animal
Context: The turkey vulture is one of the few birds with a keen sense of smell allowing it to find carrion by following the odor.
Castings (worm): worm manure
Context: Worm castings add valuable nutrients to the soil.
Compost: mixture of decaying leaves and animal matter
Context: Your compost pile will also produce great nutrients for your garden.
Decay: rot; break-down into smaller parts
Context: Crabs dine on dead and decaying matter.
Decomposer: something that helps decay happen faster
Context: Earthworms and pill bugs are decomposers breaking down the dead plants they eat.
Detritus: little pieces that have been broken up
Context: Shrimp eat the detritus in their ocean-bottom homes.
Digestive tract: the tube system through which food enters and leaves the body
Context: Vultures' digestive tracts kill deadly germs.
Germs: microscopic organisms that can make you sick
Context: Germs can be found on carrion.
Scat: feces, droppings, poop
Context: Dung beetles lay their eggs in scat.
Scavenger: an animal that eats dead animals
Context: Opossums are scavengers when they can find dead thigs to eat.