What Are Some Characteristics of Herbivores?

PawNation notes several characteristics of herbivores, including flat teeth, constant foraging, alkaline saliva and diversity of plant life consumed. Most herbivores eat a variety of plants, but there are some notable exceptions, such as pandas and koalas.

Herbivores require lots of energy each day and must constantly feed. Without ample energy, the animal dies. One example of such an herbivore is the cow, which spends most of the day grazing to acquire what its body needs.

Herbivores also have very specialized teeth that differ when compared to carnivores or omnivores. Herbivore teeth are not as sharp due to the fact that they do not have to hunt and kill for food. Instead herbivores have large, flat molars, which are useful for crushing and grinding food. Some herbivores also use their front teeth to grab and rip apart plants. Herbivores without such front teeth use pads in conjunction with their bottom teeth to accomplish the same task.

Herbivores possess alkaline saliva instead of the acidic saliva possessed by carnivores. While carnivores have acidic saliva to begin digesting consumed food almost immediately, herbivores' bodies must prepare the plants they consume before digestion begins. The alkaline saliva helps slow the digestion process down and is also possessed by human beings.