What are some herbivorous animals?


Quick Answer

In the mammal category, rabbits, cattle, deer, horses, elephants and goats are some common herbivorous animals. Geese and parrots are examples of avian herbivores, butterflies, grasshoppers and moths are insect herbivores, and tortoises and iguanas are reptilian herbivores.

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Full Answer

There are several subcategories of herbivores that further classify animals based on the type of plant matter consumed. Animals that mainly feed on leaves are known as folivores. The Australian koala has a diet primarily made of eucalyptus leaves, and the Chinese panda eats little but bamboo leaves and shoots. Both are folivores.

Ruminants have specially adapted digestive systems with more than one stomach chamber to aid in the absorption of plant matter. Food is softened and made into cud, regurgitated and further broken down by chewing and then returned to the stomach chambers where it travels through the animal's digestive tract. Cattle, sheep, camels and giraffes are examples of ruminants.

Many herbivorous mammals are equipped with teeth designed to efficiently chew and grind up tough plant matter. Wide flat molars provide the necessary surface area for breaking down leaves and grasses with mechanical action. The long flesh-cutting teeth of carnivores are not necessary for plant-eaters, but some herbivores, such as hippos and gorillas, are armed with sharp teeth for territorial fighting or defensive purposes.

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