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Herbivores are animals that depend on plants for their primary source of food and energy to survive.

Herbivores are animals that depend on plants for their primary source of food and energy to survive. These animals possess digestive systems with the presence of symbiotic bacteria that have evolved in time to digest huge amounts of plant material since often the high amounts of cellulose make it difficult for animals to digest.  Their saliva also has carbohydrate digestive enzymes.   Herbivores can be classified further into fruit-eaters (frugivores), seed-eaters (granivores), nectar-eaters (nectivores), and leaf-eaters (folivores). Examples of herbivores can include goat, deer, koalas, some birds, caterpillars, crickets and more.  

They have varied features that make them the kind of animals that they are. These four most important characteristics of herbivores include: Plant-Only Diet Herbivores only feed on plants, often specific plant parts in some instances. While some of these animals, like cows and goats, have a diet that may include any green vegetation, other animals only consume special plants. For example, koala bears only feed on eucalyptus trees, and pandas feed only on bamboo. Need a Lot of Energy for Survival Herbivores have a high energy requirement, which, if not met, will create survival problems for them. Their bodies need to procure a certain amount of nutrients. For example, we often see cows grazing for the whole day. Special Teeth The teeth of herbivores are not as pointy as carnivores. Rather they have flat-molars that help them crush their food into chewable sizes. Herbivores depend on their premolars and molars for chewing on food, while their front teeth help them tear larger plants apart, by tugging into them. However, not all herbivores have front teeth on their upper jaws; instead, they have tough pads that help them grab food along with the usage of the bottom sets of teeth.

Herbivores have alkaline saliva, which means their digestion process is slower as compared to carnivores who have acidic saliva and start digesting food as soon as it is ingested. Also, the plants’ herbivores feed on, go through a preparatory process that makes them easy to digest. Herbivores have a couple of other special characteristics that largely vary from animal to animal. These are:

Certain herbivores can bring back food to the mouth that they have swallowed previously for chewing it again. This helps them in absorbing the nutrients completely from any kind of food that is hard to chew. Examples include cows and camels.

Some herbivores do not need to chew on their food at all. Their mouths are shaped in the form of a straw to help them suck nectar from flowers. Examples include moths and butterflies.

Sharp incisor-like front teeth are present in certain herbivores for them to gnaw and break down certain food items. Examples include squirrels chewing on nuts.

Examples of Herbivores Examples of herbivores can range from a varied category of reptiles like tortoises and iguanas, insects like grasshoppers, moths, and butterflies, birds like parrots and geese, and animals like cows, goats, horses and more.

Carnivores share quite a few similarities regardless of the fact that they come in various sizes and are placed in various orders of the animal kingdom hierarchy. These are:

Most carnivores have their first lower molar and fourth upper premolar enlarged to enable these animals to tear off meat or tendons. These pairs of teeth are commonly known as the carnassial pair.

Animals like lions and tigers have equally powerful jaws that help them kill their prey easily.

Carnivores are very fast animals since they often have to chase and kill their prey.

These animals do not have the ability to detoxify vitamin A present in the liver.

Their possess acidic saliva that helps them digest food easily.

Carnivores have an intestine that is smaller in length.

Not all carnivores have sharp teeth; animals like certain frogs and even chameleons catch their prey using their long, sticky tongues.

While the size of their skulls can vary from one animal to another, their braincases are large.

Mating in carnivores can be monogamous, polygynous or polygynandrous.

Carnivores can be classified into the following: Obligate Carnivores Obligate carnivores are also commonly called “true carnivores” since their diet only includes other animal flesh. These carnivores can digest smaller plant matter, however, they cannot digest large amounts of plant matter since they do not have the physiology required to digest it. Carnivores belonging to the cat family are obligate carnivores since they cannot obtain the necessary nutrients required from plants. These animals are not able to detoxify vitamin A since they do not have the enzyme required to split carotene. Instead, obligate carnivores depend on the liver of their prey to derive vitamin A. Examples of obligate carnivores include, snakes, crocodiles, sharks, most spiders, cats, raptors and more. Facultative Carnivores Facultative carnivores are those animals that eat both animal flesh and other non-animal food that often includes certain plant matter. While these animals do not completely depend on a carnivorous diet, they thrive best on meat and often survive on a non-carnivorous diet. Examples of facultative carnivores include dogs. Examples of Carnivores The most common examples of carnivores can include lions, tigers, leopards, cats, dogs, leopards, hyenas, jackals, cougars, weasels, ferrets, snakes, crocodiles and more.

Carnivores or meat-eaters come in multiple shapes and sizes and include some of the most feared animals on the planet. However, there are a couple of facts about carnivores that are often commonly unknown to people. Some of these are:  

Carnivores can be divided into 15 basic families.

These animals can only move their jaws up and down.

All carnivores are believed to have descended from a common ancestor.

Their digestive systems are fairly simple as compared to herbivores.

These animals are listed amongst the world’s fastest predators.

Carnivores communicate in a number of ways which include verbal- like barking or roaring or non-verbal, like body-language or scent.

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