Natural Sciences


Within the animal kingdom there are many types of animal species that can be classified according to different characteristics. One of those classifications is generated according to their diet: carnivores, herbivores, omnivores and decomposers.

This time we will study the herbivores group a bit.

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What are herbivores?

Herbivorous animals are those that eat vegetables , although some vary their diet with a certain amount of protein from insects, eggs and others. They are considered primary consumers since, in the food chain, they are animals that later become food for carnivores (secondary consumers).

These animals play an important role in the distribution of seeds and replanting of plant species. When they leave their feces with other fruits (seeds), these can remain in the ground and with the help of nature , make a new plant or tree grow.


Among the main characteristics of animals that eat plants are the following:

  • They develop skills to defend themselves: they run fast since they must try to escape from the beasts that stalk them, they camouflage themselves or they are always in a herd.
  • There are several types of herbivores depending on the part of the plants they consume, although it is not always an exclusive diet.
  • They get food in a very simple way, but the type of food can vary according to the seasons of the year.
  • Insects are the most prominent herbivores of the group.


Among herbivores there is also a small classification according to the type of plant species they consume:

    • Frugivores : their diet is mainly based on fruits.
    • Folivores are those whose diet contains mainly leaves of plants . They can also consume seeds and roots.
    • Xylophages : they are animals that eat wood.
    • Rhizophages : their main food is the roots.
    • Granivores : their diet is based on seeds.
    • Generalists : they feed on almost any representation of the plant world.
    • Nectarivores : they consume nectar from flowers and in return carry out pollination.

There are animals that are classified as ruminants , but this goes more with the way the food is consumed. They swallow a certain amount of food, return it to their mouth from the stomach to chew and swallow it again, rabbits and cows are examples of ruminants.

Examples of herbivores

  • Mountain gorilla (leaves)
  • Cows (grass and branches)
  • Geese (Seeds)
  • Butterflies (leaves)
  • Macaws (fruits)
  • bark weevil (wood)
  • Bats (fruits)
  • Syrphids (Nectar)
  • Parrots and parakeets (fruits, seeds and leaves)
  • Ants (seeds and leaves)
  • Termites (wood)
  • Squirrels (roots)
  • Bees (nectar)
  • Aphids (leaves)
  • Orangutans (fruits)
  • Giraffes (Leaves)
  • Buffalo (Leaves)
  • Field rats (roots)

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