Herbivores, Carnivores, Omnivores
Every animal in the world has at least one thing in common: They must eat. Animals have a wide variety of foods to choose from, but some animals will eat only other animals or animal flesh, and some animals eat only plant-based foods, and then there are some that will eat just about anything.
The diet of each animal species determines whether they are herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores. Animals that eat only plants are called herbivores, animals that eat animal flesh or meat are called carnivores, and animals that eat both plants and animals are omnivores. Most human beings are omnivores. In addition, scientists can study an animal's teeth or eye position to determine if it eats meat only, plants only, or both.
For example, by studying the teeth of a mammal, it can be determined whether the animal is an herbivore, carnivore, or carnivore. A canine tooth is a pointed, cone-shaped tooth used for biting and chewing.
Herbivores are animals with dull or no canine teeth, and with big flat side and back teeth. Their teeth, called molars, are used for crushing and grinding plants. Examples of herbivores include sheep, cow, deer, squirrels, elephants, parrots, giraffes, caterpillars, kangaroo rats and mice and insects such as grasshoppers. Herbivores also have eyes usually located more on the side of their heads, which give them a wider view of the surrounding area and can flee when they in danger of being eaten.
Not all herbivores are the same, some will eat only grasses while others may eat other types of plants. For example, birds, bees, and butterflies eat nectar from flowers to get the nutrients they need to survive, and other herbivores may just eat seeds or fruits. Vegetarians are people in the world who eat mainly plants and do not eat meat and are more like herbivores, though most people are omnivores.
Carnivores are animals with long, sharp canine teeth next to their front (incisor) teeth and sharp cheek teeth called carnassials, used to help cut up meat in the mouth. The canines are for seizing and stabbing prey. Examples of carnivores include lions, tigers, spiders, owls, eagles, sharks, crocodiles, praying mantis, Venus fly-trap, toads, snakes, wolves, and insects such as beetles, dragonflies, and others.
Meat is a high energy food source for carnivores. They find their food by hunting down prey or scavenging dead animal tissue. In other words, some will eat live animals and others only eat dead animal flesh. Many carnivorous mammals have big claws, sharp teeth or beaks, and quick speed and live on land, in the sea, or soar through the sky.
Omnivores are animals with a variety of all kinds of teeth such as canines, incisors, flat teeth, and molars. They eat a variety of foods, both meat, and plants. Examples of omnivores include chickens, crow, bears, raccoons, skunks, pigs, rats, humans, crows, robins, lizards, turtles, badgers, ostriches, ducks, some monkeys and apes, flies, and catfish. As with other animals, omnivores may limit the types of plants or animals they eat. For example, some humans will eat only plants and fish, but no other animal products. Overall, omnivores have a wide variety of food options because they will eat almost anything.
Finally, omnivorous and carnivorous mammals have eyes in front to help them spot and determine the distance of their prey. In summary, herbivores eat plants, carnivores eat meat, and omnivores eat both.
To link to this Herbivores, Carnivores, Omnivores page, copy the following code to your site: