What Do Animals Eat? Carnivores Vs Omnivores Vs Herbivores & Extra

Various kinds of animals eat various kinds of meals: carnivores eat meat, herbivores eat crops, and omnivores eat each crops and meat. Examples of animals with extra specialised diets embody fructivores (fruit eaters); and folivores (leaf eaters).

On this web page you’ll discover details on carnivores, omnivores and herbivores, plus many examples of extra specialised animal diets.

Web page Index

Specialist Animal Diets

Specialist Carnivores

Specialist Herbivores

Different Animal Diets


All organisms, be they animal, plant, fungus, and even single-celled lifeforms reminiscent of micro organism, want the vitamins contained in meals with a purpose to reside.

Vitamins present an organism with each power and materials from which new cells will be made.

With out meals, an animal wouldn’t have the power required to breathe and transfer, or the fabric required to develop, restore itself or reproduce.

Autotrophs Vs Heterotrophs

Uinta chipmunk - a herbivore eating cones
The herbivorous Uinta chipmunk consuming seeds from cones. All animals depend on crops both immediately (like this chipmunk) or not directly (the chipmunk’s predators).

Organisms reminiscent of crops are autotrophic, which implies that they produce their very own meals.

Vegetation do that by way of photosynthesis – a course of by which power from the solar is changed into meals.

You will discover out extra about photosynthesis on this web page: Photosynthesis Information

Animals are heterotrophs. Heterotrophic organisms are unable to provide their very own meals, due to this fact should devour natural matter (both dwelling organisms or the stays of dwelling organisms) to get the vitamins wanted for all times.

Even herbivorous (plant-eating) animals reminiscent of rabbits are heterotrophs, as they devour crops, that are natural.

An animal is described as being both a carnivore, herbivore or omnivore relying on the kind of meals it consumes.

  • Carnivore = meat eater
  • Herbivore = plant eater
  • Omnivore = eats meat and crops

All animals – even carnivores – are reliant on autotrophs reminiscent of crops or algae; though carnivores don’t eat crops themselves, their prey does!

You will discover out extra concerning the relationship between crops and various kinds of animals on this web page: What Is An Ecosystem?

Under, we have a look at these three most important varieties of animals, then check out extra specialised eaters, together with folivores (leaf-eaters), frugivores (fruit-eaters) and animals that follow coprophagy (you don’t wish to know!).

What Do Animals Eat – Carnivores

Examples Of Carnivores
Examples Of Carnivores – click on picture to see extra

A carnivore is an animal that eats different animals. Carnivores are also called meat-eaters.

Predators are carnivores that hunt prey; scavengers are carnivores that eat carrion (the stays of animals).

An apex predator is a predator that has no predators of its personal. Examples of apex predators embody the tiger and the killer whale / orca. You possibly can see extra examples of apex predators on this web page: Apex Predators

tiger in jungle
The tiger is an apex predator. Click on picture to see extra apex predators.

The ancestors of all amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds had been carnivores. All of those animal teams belong to group of vertebrates generally known as tetrapods. The primary tetrapods had been amphibious, piscivorous (fish-eating) animals.

Each the earliest reptiles, and the earliest mammals, are thought to have been insectivores (insect-eaters). Paleontologists use numerous clues, reminiscent of the form of a fossilized animal’s tooth, to inform what meals it ate when it was alive.

Carnivores will be given names relying on the quantity of meat they devour. Hypercarnivores have a eating regimen consisting of over 70% meat; the eating regimen of mesocarnivores consists of 30–70% meat, and hypocarnivores eat lower than 30% meat. (Mesocarnivores and hypocarnivores can also be known as omnivores.)

Obligate carnivores are animals (reminiscent of cats) that require vitamins solely present in animal flesh, and are unable to interrupt down plant matter.

Predatory carnivores have diversifications reminiscent of power, pace, forward-facing eyes, sharp tooth and talons or claws for catching prey.

Variations of scavengers embody an acute sense of odor for finding meals, tough tooth or claws for tearing meals aside, and a sturdy digestion for breaking apart bones and / or rotting meat.

You possibly can see examples of carnivores on this web page: Examples of Carnivores

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What Do Animals Eat – Herbivores

Examples of Herbivores
Examples of Herbivores – click on picture to see extra

Herbivores are animals whose eating regimen consists solely or primarily of crops. Plant materials is commonly powerful and fibrous, containing comparatively little power.

Subsequently, herbivores require specialised diversifications with a purpose to get hold of the required vitamins from crops.

Rodents have tooth that repeatedly develop (and due to this fact by no means put on down); cattle and plenty of different hooved animals have multi-chambered stomachs and regurgitate their meals as cud for additional chewing with a purpose to get ample diet from their powerful, low-energy meals.

American Bison - Buffalo
The American bison, like all cattle, has a multi-chambered abdomen that permits it to get the vitamins it requires from grass.

Herbivores which might be prey animals have traits reminiscent of acute senses for detecting predators, and pace and agility for escaping from predators.

You possibly can see examples of herbivores on this web page: Examples of Herbivores

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What Do Animals Eat – Omnivores

Examples Of Omnivores
Examples Of Omnivores – click on picture to see extra

Omnivores are animals whose eating regimen consists of each animal and plant materials. Omnivores embody each animals whose ancestors had been carnivores, and animals whose ancestors had been herbivores.

Omnivores are often much less specialised than both herbivores or carnivores. For instance, omnivorous mammals reminiscent of most bears lack the multi-chambered stomachs of hooved mammals. Omnivorous birds, reminiscent of crows, lack the talons of birds of prey.

Common Raven
Omnivores such because the widespread raven are extremely adaptable, capable of eat all kinds of plant and animal meals.

You possibly can see examples of omnivores on this web page: Examples of Omnivores

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Specialist Animal Diets

Specialist Carnivores


Peregrine Falcon
The peregrine falcon is the world’s quickest animal. Its nice pace permits it to catch different birds.

An avivore is a carnivore that focuses on consuming birds. Examples of avivores embody a number of birds of prey, together with the sparrowhawk – a mid-sized hawk named for its bird-eating habits, and the peregrine falcon – the world’s quickest animal.

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crown of thorns starfish
The crown of thorns starfish preys on coral.

A corallivore is an animal that eats coral. Corals are mollusks whose stays accumulate to type coral reefs. Examples of corallivores embody species from a number of animal teams, together with the crown-of-thorns sea starfish, and several other species of butterflyfish and parrotfish.

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Vampire Bat
Vampire bats feed on the blood of different animals.

A sanguivore is an animal that feeds on blood. The perfect-known examples of sanguivores are the three species of vampire bat. The habits of feeding on blood is named hematophagy.

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The aardvark is an insectivore that preys on ants and termites (so it’s additionally a myrmecophage).

An insectivore is an animal that preys on bugs. Examples of insectivores embody birds reminiscent of flycatchers and bee-eaters, amphibians reminiscent of tree frogs, and mammals such because the aardvark.

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Giant anteater
Large anteater, one of many 4 dwelling species of anteater.

A myrmecophage is kind of insectivore that eats ants and termites. Examples of myrmecophages embody the aardwolf, aardvark, the 4 species or anteater, the short-beaked echidna and pangolins.

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The oystercatcher preys on mollusks (and quite a lot of different animals).

A molluscivore is an animal that eats mollusks. Examples of molluscivores embody the walrus, which eats clams and different bivalves, the oystercatcher, a hen whose title displays its dietary habits, and the rosy wolf snail (Euglandina rosea), a predatory snail that preys on different snails and slugs.

You possibly can see examples of mollusks on this web page: Mollusks Examples

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Indian Grey Mongoose
The Indian gray mongoose is famed as a snake-hunter

Ophiophagy is the consuming of snakes. Animals that exhibit ophiophagy embody mongooses (a household (Herpestidae) of weasel-like mammals discovered within the Outdated World which might be immune to snake venom), snake eagles (birds of prey belonging to the household Circaetinae), and the secretarybird (a long-legged hen of prey present in Africa).

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Bottlenose Dolphin
Bottlenose dolphins prey on fish.

A piscivore is an animal that eats fish. Examples of piscivores embody birds such because the osprey, Blakiston’s fish owl (the world’s largest owl), gannets and mergansers; and mammals such because the fishing cat, Eurasian otter, big otter and bottlenose dolphin.

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Hawksbill sea turtle
Sponges type the majority of the eating regimen of the hawksbill sea turtle

A spongivore is an animal that eats sponges. Examples of spongivores embody the hawksbill sea turtle, and spongeflies which, of their larval type, eat sponges.

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Eastern Mole
Moles are worm-eaters.

A vermivore is an animal that eats worms. Examples of vermivores embody shrews (small, rodent-like animals), moles and long-beaked echidnas.

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Specialist Herbivores


Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
The yellow-bellied sapsucker eats the sap that emerges from holes it drills into tree trunks.

An exudativore is an animal that feeds on plant exudates (fluids emitted from crops), which embody sap, gum, latex and resin. Examples of animals which might be exudativores embody sapsuckers (a bunch of North American woodpeckers), and aphids, a bunch of bugs that features bugs generally known as greenflies and blackflies.

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Koala with baby in pouch
Koalas eat little apart from eucalyptus leaves.

A folivore is an animal that eats leaves. Examples of folivores embody the hoatzin, a hen discovered within the rainforests of South America, and the koala, an Australian marsupial that feeds virtually solely on eucalyptus leaves.

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Sumatran orangutan
Male Sumatran orangutan. Fruit makes up a big proportion of the eating regimen of an orangutan.

A frugivore is an animal that eats fruit. Examples of frugivores embody orangutans, the coconut crab, toucans, hornbills, and megabats such because the Indian Flying fox.

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Chaffinch Male
Finches such because the chaffinch have highly effective payments for breaking into seeds.

A granivore is an animal that feeds on seeds. Examples of granivores embody finches (birds of household Fringillidae, which incorporates species such because the bullfinch and pink crossbill), and the wooden mouse, a small rodent present in Europe and North Africa.

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hummingbird drinking nectar
Broad-tailed hummingbird utilizing its specialised invoice and lengthy tongue to feed on nectar.

A nectarivore is an animal that feeds on nectar – a candy fluid produced by flowers as an incentive for pollinators to go to. Examples of nectarivores embody birds reminiscent of hummingbirds and sunbirds (each of which have lengthy payments for gathering nectar); and bats such because the long-tongued nectar bat.

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North American Beaver
North American beavers gnawing on wooden.

A xylophage is an animal that feeds on wooden. Examples of xylophagous animals embody bark beetles; woodboring beetles such because the widespread furnishings beetle and deathwatch beetle; drywood termites, and beavers.

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Leafcutter Ants
Leafcutter ants gather leaves not for themselves, however to feed fungus that gives meals for the colony.

A fungivore is an animal that feeds on fungi. Examples of fungivores embody leafcutter ants, which develop fungi of their nests for meals. Ambrosia beetles additionally create “fungus gardens” on which they feed.

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A bacterivore is an animal that feeds on micro organism. Examples of bacterivores embody nematodes and unicellular amoebae.

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Different Animal Diets


Millipedes feed on natural waste.

A detritivore is an animal that feeds on detritus (non-living natural matter). Examples of detritivores embody earthworms and millipedes.

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Dung Beetle
Dung beetle rolling a ball of dung.

Coprophagy is the consuming of feces. Coprophagous animals embody bugs such because the yellow dung fly and dung beetles; and hares, which devour their very own droppings with a purpose to get hold of undigested vitamins.

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