Welcome, this blog will dive deeply into our Top 10 Animals That Eat Plants! With more and more humans deciding to eat only plant-based diets, this is becoming a more and more exciting topic! These animals interacting with plants are known as herbivores who consume large quantities of plant matter daily to fulfill their appetite.
A herbivore doesn’t need to be of a specific size. The largest animals alive on earth today are all herbivores. The top 11 animals that eat plants have their bodies adapted to grazing grass and eating leaves that are abundant everywhere.
Now, if you’re curious why nature has classified the world into different categories, namely herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores, you will be amazed to know why.
So, buckle up and keep reading to learn some exciting facts regarding herbivores and a brief outline of the top 11 animals that eat plants.
This is the central discussion on why nature has made herbivores adapt to eating green matter only.
Similar to how lazy human beings feel for most of their day, animals tend to avoid tasks that consume a lot of their energy, such as catching prey. Therefore, the easiest way forward for these animals is to eat what is abundantly available without having to work hard for it.
Besides, if no herbivores existed on this planet, we would be surrounded by uncontrollable vegetation. Similarly, if no carnivores existed on earth, there would be too many herbivores to strip the world of its foliage.
Therefore, nature’s way of keeping a balanced ecosystem is primarily why we have equal proportions of herbivores and carnivores on earth.
Sounds fascinating, right? Read more!
How Do Herbivores Digest Their Food?
If you’re thinking that a herbivore’s digestive system is the same as that of a typical carnivore having a simple digestive tract, you’re highly mistaken!
A few plant-eating animals, such as camels, giraffes, and deers, have a complex digestive system with more than one stomach cavity and a long digestive tract.
Moreover, all herbivores have large and flat teeth to help grind the green matter effectively and break through the cellulose cell walls of the plant cells. Special fluids and bacteria in the stomach help digest the food.
In the case of animals with multiple stomach chambers, they continuously chew the food back and forth from one stomach chamber to another until it has passed from all of them. This aids in the effective digestion of food without leaving unnecessary digestive matter behind.
Top 10 Animals That Eat Plants In The World
Plant-eating animals are a fascinating species of the animal kingdom. Their unique lifestyle and behavior that helps them survive in this evolving world are fascinating to study.
So, stay with us to discover some of the most amazing facts about animals that depend on plants to stay alive!
Cows are domestic species found everywhere in the world. They make excellent farm animals that provide various benefits to human beings. For example, we consume cow meat and milk and use their skin to make leather products.
These bulky domestic mammals come in different colors, ranging from white, brown, and black. Their weight ranges up to 2000 pounds, almost equal to that of a small car! The two horns on their heads distinguish them from other species of cattle.
The anatomy of cows is evidence that these animals are perfectly herbivorous. Their wide mouths and substantial flat teeth aid them in grazing grass and chewing tough plant species.
If you’ve been to the countryside, you may have seen cows chewing on something, with their mouths constantly moving in circular motions.
This is primarily because they are ruminants with a four-chambered stomach that constantly brings food back and forth for them to chew until it reaches the last chamber.
This implies that digesting food is not a matter of concern for cows, and they can ingest lots of grass while grazing because their stomach is there to do the job of digestion effectively.
Goats are rotund herbivores that possess horns and cloven feet. They may be domestic and kept on farms for their meat and milk. Some goats are, however, native to mountain areas with rugged and rocky terrains.
Their slim bodies, cloven hooves, and muscular strength allow them to climb steep mountainous territories easily.
These animals mostly spend their time grazing grass in surrounding areas as herds, vegetation being their primary food source. Despite being fond of grazing grass, mountain goats habitually eat big plants and mosses.
The lips of a goat are big enough to help them grab food and slide it into their mouths. Moreover, they have a wider upper jaw compared to the lower jaw, so they only chew the food in circular motions from the sides of their mouth.
Like most other grazing species, such as cattle, goats have chambered stomachs of 4 cavities that can hold vast gallons of food instantly. It takes around 15 hours to digest their food thoroughly.
Deers are the most evolved species on earth that have experienced several mutations due to competitive environments.
Their massive specialized horns, known as the antlers, safeguard them from predator attacks since they can throw a counterattack. This characteristic makes them a distinctive herbivorous species of the wild.
Several species of deer are alive on this planet and are, indeed, a fascinating creation of nature. They come in many distinctive coat colors, ranging from brown to gray, and have short tails.
Deers are herbivores with specialized body systems that help them feed and digest green matter effectively. Their motile lips and specialized teeth aid in plucking and ingesting food in their four-chambered stomach.
endangered Visayan Spotted Deer
These ruminants tend to be very picky about their diet. Their antlers shed and regrow every year, requiring them a vast variety of nutrients to cope with the growing process.
Therefore, they naturally prefer eating good-quality food rich in nutrients that are imperative for the antler growth process.
The horses we see daily are domesticated species descended from the ancient wild horses that are now labeled extinct.
They are the most valuable animals till present for humans as they contributed as the principal source of transport in ancient times and as racing animals for entertainment purposes.
Horses tend to be perfect companions of humans due to their ability to show affection and bond with their fellows.
They come in various beautiful coat colors, ranging from white to chestnut brown and gold to black. Moreover, their strong muscular bodies make them speedy runners.
These herbivorous animals are adapted to eating grass since their large and flat frontal teeth allow them to pluck the grass out of the ground. The set of molars and premolars then aid in chewing.
However, these animals’ digestive system is different from the usual herbivores.
Their stomachs are tiny compared to their large bodies, so they are used to eating fewer but recurrent meals every day.
If you’ve watched the Hollywood movie “King Kong,” you might be familiar with what a gorilla is. These giant apes are native to mountains and lowland areas of Africa.
A surprising fact: Gorillas are one of those animals closely related to human beings.
These gigantic creatures are mighty, with big hairy bodies and bulging abdomens. The most distinguishing part of their appearance is their big round nostrils protruding outwards.
Gorillas tend to walk on their four limbs with much of their weight on the knuckles that support them while walking.
Surprisingly, gorillas despise water and usually don’t even drink water for days. They hydrate themselves through the food they eat or the morning vapors.
These vegetarian species feed primarily on green matter, including leaves and tree stalks. A few western species prefer eating fruits. However, they are known to eat small mammals and insects occasionally too.
Zebras are one of the most captivating wild species, famous for their characteristic black and white striped coat. These African natives are found in the grasslands and woodlands and are closely related to the family of horses and donkeys.
The stripes on their body function similarly to a human fingerprint, allowing scientists to distinguish between their different species easily.
Zebras have a fantastic digestion system since their bodies are adapted to efficiently filtering proteins and other vital nutrients from the roughest grass.
This implies that food quality does not matter to these herbivorous species. They tend to survive well in dry periods when the amount and quality of vegetation are low.
They achieve this advantage through rapid digestion, where their stomach and intestines do not hold food inside for long. Therefore, their food intake must be large enough to provide adequate nutrients and nourishment to their bodies.
Giant pandas are the most adorable species on earth that are closely related to the family of bears. They are indigenous to the bamboo forests of China and were known to be on the verge of extinction before being conserved.
Pandas are famous for their beautiful black and white patterned fur that helps them camouflage and attract mates.
Moreover, we love pandas because they eat and sleep all day, a thing every human being can relate to!
These charming creatures cannot survive a day without bamboo. They spend around 12 hours every day devouring bamboo! They use their vast hands to grab the bamboo stalks and their sharp teeth aid in removing the hard outer layer.
They have strong jaws that help chew the inner matter of a bamboo stalk. Moreover, they also particularly like the bamboo leaves and consume them altogether by stripping them off a branch.
However, these are not the only particulars forming a giant panda’s diet. They consume anything they can, including fruits, small insects, and even rodents.
Elephants are the most giant terrestrial animals with highly distinct anatomy and complex behaviors. These creatures are often found dwelling in Asian and African forests and savannas.
The most giant land animal is the African bush elephant, weighing more than 9 tonnes!
These creatures of the wild have a distinctive physical appearance incorporating a huge prehensile trunk, gigantic ears, and thick white ivory tusks.
An elephant’s trunk is handy to the species as it performs the task of helping them in eating, drinking, breathe, loading, etc. Moreover, they consume the leaves and fruits from trees using their trunks to pluck the food and put it in their mouth.
Despite their gigantic bodies, elephants feed on plant matter to get nourishment, so they have to eat more than 350 pounds of vegetative matter every day.
In addition, elephants are grass grazers, which they consume when they are not comfortable searching for plants and fruits to eat.
Kangaroos are an exciting species of the wild that are known for hopping behavior. There are currently 14 different species of kangaroos native to Australian woodlands.
The anatomy of a kangaroo is highly distinct, where the species rely on their long hind legs to hop and bounce their way forward. Their thick and long tails help them maintain balance while jumping.
These adorable creatures have small forelimbs, almost relating to a human arm. Moreover, female kangaroos have a pouch on their abdomens that contain mammary glands to feed and shelter their babies until they are mature enough to leave the mother’s body.
At a time, a female kangaroo can give birth to four little joeys (baby kangaroos), although it is very rare. A point to acknowledge here is that the little ones look adorable in their mother’s pouch!
Besides, kangaroos are herbivorous creatures who depend almost entirely on grass, flowers, and plants to fulfill their appetite. In addition, some may sometimes consume moss and even insects.
Their digestive tract resembles that of cattle. Their four-chambered stomachs ensure that the food they consume is digested fully and the nutrients are assimilated perfectly in their bodies.
Moreover, their perfectly built dental structure ensures their food is ground to perfection before moving into the stomach.
If you’re a kangaroo lover, click here to learn more about these adorable creatures.
10. Koala Bear
Koalas are fascinating tree-climbing creatures of Australian wildlife similar to the family of kangaroos in how they carry their offspring in pouches on their abdomen.
They have a furry appearance resembling a sheep and have sharp claws and toe pads to help them climb trees easily.
They are habitual in eating and sleeping for most of their day. Their food and shelter depend entirely on eucalyptus trees, where they live and eat eucalyptus leaves.
Despite the toxic nature of eucalyptus leaves, a koala’s digestive system is adapted to removing harmful toxins from its body and absorbing only the nutrient content.
Due to significantly less nutrient consumption, koalas feel lazy and sleepy throughout the day.
Unfortunately, their constant poaching for fur has led to a remarkable decline in their population. The southern population of koalas is almost on the verge of extinction.
Bonus Animal! The Giraffe
Giraffes are the most exciting African wild species known to be the tallest mammals alive on earth. Their tall legs and neck are more significant in height than an average adult human!
These cute creatures have a unique and beautiful coat patterned with irregular blocks ranging from chestnut brown to dark brown.
The rest of their skin is light yellow-colored, providing them with the perfect camouflage by blending in with the tall trees in the woodlands.
These herbivorous species feed on leaves and fruits from tall trees since they have the advantage of reaching heights no other mammal can get to.
Moreover, being a massive creature compels them to consume a considerable amount of food every day, approximately equal to 75 pounds!
In addition, a giraffe’s tongue is prehensile, similar to an elephant’s trunk and a monkey’s tail, which helps it pluck food and pull it inside their mouths.
The Final Word on Animals That Eat Plants
Animals are a pivotal part of our ecosystem, without whom the world would be a strange place to live in.
Nature has granted animals the ability to maintain a balance in their surroundings. The herbivores control the amount of greenery in the world, while the carnivores ensure that the herbivores don’t strip the earth of its natural green charm.
Therefore, man must conserve the surrounding wildlife and make the world a haven for them.