How Do Animals Eat?


Quick Answer

Each species of animal has slightly different behaviors when it comes to eating. Horses, for example, eat by biting off blades of grass with the front teeth and then chewing the grass with the molars. Dogs grab bites of their food and swallow it whole with minimal chewing, and cats eat in a similar manner, picking up pieces of food with the front teeth before swallowing them whole.

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Full Answer

Horses, like most herbivorous animals, have flat front teeth known as incisors. These teeth are not sharp, but by clenching them together, a horse is able to bite off blades of grass. These blades of grass are then pushed to the back of the mouth with the tongue and mixed with saliva as they are chewed between the molars. Horses chew with a side-to-side motion, essentially grinding their food into small pieces.

Both dogs and cats are carnivores, which means they eat only meat. They are equipped with sharp front teeth to tear off flesh. They eat commercial dog and cat food in the same manner, picking it up with the front teeth and barely crunching it before swallowing. Their digestive systems are adapted to digesting large, unchewed pieces of food. This quick eating behavior is thought to have evolved due to a need to consume prey before other animals stole it.

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