What Are the Differences Between Plants and Animals?

The differences between plants and animals begin at the cellular level and come to include aspects such as mobility. While both types of cells have plasma membranes, a plant cell includes a dividing wall while the animal cell does not.

Animals must find and eat food to survive while plants produce their own food via photosynthesis. Plant cells contain a structure not found in animal cells called a chloroplast, which is filled with chlorophyll and where photosynthesis occurs in the cell.

Animal cells are round in shape while plant cells are rectangular. Animals, and animal cells, can move by their own volition while plants do not. Animal cells accomplish this by a structure called a centriole.

The vacuole in a plant cell serves to store water and preserve the rigidity of the cell. In animal cells, the vacuole stores ions, water and waste. In contrast with the rigid plant cell, an animal cell can take on different shapes.

The means by which organisms grow and multiply also differs between plants and animals. In plants, new growth occurs only at the roots or the tips of shoots while in animals, most types of tissue can produce new cells. Animals grow larger by producing more cells while plants use the vacuole of each cell to fill with water and thereby increase the size of the cells.