Herbivores are primary consumers that eat plants and include elephants, zebras, squirrels and moose. Herbivores are primary consumers in the food chain and are often hunted by carnivores, such as lions, tigers and hyenas.
There are two types of herbivores: grazers and browsers. Grazers eat foods close to the ground and a squirrel is a good example of a grazer. Browsers eat almost everything from twigs to leaves. Large animals like elephants are both grazers and browsers.
Different ecosystems have different species of herbivores living in them and herbivores can be reptiles, insects, amphibians or mammals. Some animals like the kangaroo rat and desert tortoise survive quite nicely on dry desert grasses and seeds.
Animals that live in the ocean can also be herbivores. For example, zooplankton eat only phytoplankton and algae.
Forest-dwelling herbivores include rabbits, squirrels, butterflies and bees. These animals dine on everything from grasses to flower nectar.
Even Arctic creatures can be herbivores. The frigid Arctic water contains zooplankton and on land herbivores include caribou, lemmings and Arctic hares.
People can be herbivores as well. Although most of the human population is omnivorous, vegetarians are herbivores when they eat nothing, but plants such as fresh fruit and vegetables.
Herbivores have been around for millions of years. Many dinosaurs like the Brachiosaurus, Triceratops, and the Stegosaurus were herbivores.