What Animals Eat Plants?

Eric Kilby/CC-BY-SA 2.0

Herbivores and omnivores are animals that eat plants. The herbivore is a group of animals that only eats plants, and the omnivore is a group of animals that eats both plants and animals.

Herbivores are the second level of the food chain and eat only plants. They are considered primary consumers because they are the first consumers on the food chain. Squirrels are herbivores that eat grass and small plants near the ground. Herbivores that eat grass and small plants near the ground are called grazers. Elephants, rhinos and moose eat leaves, shoots and twigs. These kinds of herbivores are called browsers. Herbivores often have ridges in their teeth that help them to digest food into smaller pieces. This is particularly true for herbivores that frequently eat grass.

Omnivores are animals that eat plants and animals. Omnivores will eat almost anything, including eggs from other animals. While omnivores eat plants, they do not eat all kinds of plants. Omnivores are unable to digest some of the parts of plants and grains that herbivores can digest. Humans are omnivores, as are bears, raccoons, chickens, pigs and bees. Some of the insect omnivores, such as bees, are pollinators. Pollinators are extremely important to the life cycle of some plants.