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

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

On this web page you’ll discover information 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 corresponding to micro organism, want the vitamins contained in meals so as to dwell.

Vitamins present an organism with each vitality and materials from which new cells might be made.

With out meals, an animal wouldn’t have the vitality 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 vegetation both immediately (like this chipmunk) or not directly (the chipmunk’s predators).

Organisms corresponding to vegetation are autotrophic, which signifies that they produce their very own meals.

Crops do that by way of photosynthesis – a course of during which vitality 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 corresponding to rabbits are heterotrophs, as they devour vegetation, 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 vegetation

All animals – even carnivores – are reliant on autotrophs corresponding to vegetation or algae; though carnivores don’t eat vegetation themselves, their prey does!

You will discover out extra concerning the relationship between vegetation and several types of animals on this web page: What Is An Ecosystem?

Beneath, 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 apply 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 embrace the tiger and the killer whale / orca. You may 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 often 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 varied clues, corresponding to the form of a fossilized animal’s enamel, to inform what meals it ate when it was alive.

Carnivores might be given names relying on the quantity of meat they devour. Hypercarnivores have a weight loss program consisting of over 70% meat; the weight loss program 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 (corresponding to cats) that require vitamins solely present in animal flesh, and are unable to interrupt down plant matter.

Predatory carnivores have variations corresponding to power, pace, forward-facing eyes, sharp enamel and talons or claws for catching prey.

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

You may 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 weight loss program consists completely or primarily of vegetation. Plant materials is commonly powerful and fibrous, containing comparatively little vitality.

Subsequently, herbivores require specialised variations so as to receive the required vitamins from vegetation.

Rodents have enamel that constantly 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 so as to get enough vitamin 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 are prey animals have traits corresponding to acute senses for detecting predators, and pace and agility for escaping from predators.

You may 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 weight loss program consists of each animal and plant materials. Omnivores embrace each animals whose ancestors had been carnivores, and animals whose ancestors had been herbivores.

Omnivores are normally much less specialised than both herbivores or carnivores. For instance, omnivorous mammals corresponding to most bears lack the multi-chambered stomachs of hooved mammals. Omnivorous birds, corresponding to 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 may 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 embrace a number of birds of prey, together with the sparrowhawk – a mid-sized hawk named for its bird-eating conduct, 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 kind coral reefs. Examples of corallivores embrace species from a number of animal teams, together with the crown-of-thorns sea starfish, and a number of 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 most effective-known examples of sanguivores are the three species of vampire bat. The conduct 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 embrace birds corresponding to flycatchers and bee-eaters, amphibians corresponding to tree frogs, and mammals such because the aardvark.

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

A myrmecophage is sort of insectivore that eats ants and termites. Examples of myrmecophages embrace 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 embrace 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 may 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 embrace mongooses (a household (Herpestidae) of weasel-like mammals discovered within the Outdated World which are 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 embrace 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 kind the majority of the weight loss program of the hawksbill sea turtle

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

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Eastern Mole
Moles are worm-eaters.

A vermivore is an animal that eats worms. Examples of vermivores embrace 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 vegetation), which embrace sap, gum, latex and resin. Examples of animals which are exudativores embrace sapsuckers (a bunch of North American woodpeckers), and aphids, a bunch of bugs that features bugs often known as greenflies and blackflies.

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

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

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Sumatran orangutan
Male Sumatran orangutan. Fruit makes up a big proportion of the weight loss program of an orangutan.

A frugivore is an animal that eats fruit. Examples of frugivores embrace 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 embrace finches (birds of household Fringillidae, which incorporates species such because the bullfinch and purple 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 embrace birds corresponding to 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 embrace 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 embrace 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 embrace 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 embrace earthworms and millipedes.

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Dung Beetle
Dung beetle rolling a ball of dung.

Coprophagy is the consuming of feces. Coprophagous animals embrace bugs such because the yellow dung fly and dung beetles; and hares, which devour their very own droppings so as to receive undigested vitamins.

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