Herbivores are animals that feed on plants. Within this, there are also frugivores (those that only eat fruit) and folivores (these mainly feed on leaves). Below, we’ll discuss our top 10 herbivores.
Top 10 herbivores
Ruminants and insects are the most important groups of herbivores. The former has a special jaw capable of crushing plants and a stomach that can easily digest them.
Insects, on the other hand, have intestinal flora capable of digesting cellulose. Below, we’ll tell you about 10 specific herbivores:
Cows spend around 8 hours a day eating. They have very agile tongues rougher than those of a cat, as well as special teeth capable of cutting through grass.
They have two stages of digestion. The first stage is swallowing. The second is called rumination, where they regurgitate semi-digested food and chew it again. Interestingly, cows have four stomach compartments; the final stomach is known as its “true” stomach.
Rhinos are one of the herbivores that need the most food, since they’re one of the biggest. Although they’re able to digest woody plant tissue, they prefer to eat soft leaves.
The black rhino has an upper lip that can snap branches, while the white rhino prefers short grass. Those from Java and Sumatra can pull down trees to eat sprouts and leaves.
A sloth’s preferred diet comes from the Cecropia tree. They’ve adapted very well to tree life and move slowly between the branches (hence the name sloth). They even have a very slow digestive system… Sometimes it can take them a month to fully digest something!
Caterpillars are known for having a large appetite and can spend all day and night eating leaves. Many are limited to a single type of plant. Some hide under it during the day and when it gets dark, they climb up the stem to feed until dawn.
Goats tend to live in very rocky, steep environments with little vegetation. Even so, they still manage to eat what’s there. They usually eat during the early hours of the morning to take advantage of leaves and flowers wet with dew. They usually eat hawthorns, brambles, or weeds.
Most sheep breeds eat short grass and plants, but they don’t like woody plants. Their lips and tongue allow them to select the best leaves. Just like cows, they’re ruminants, have a similar digestive system and four stomachs.
These rodents are also herbivores. They mainly eat grass, roots, branches, and bark. They tend to eat more in the months leading up to winter.
This reptile is mainly vegetarian, but their diet changes at different stages of its life. Young iguanas also feed on small insects and, when they reach old age, become 100% vegetarian.
If you have an iguana as a pet, pay special attention to its diet. Some excellent choices are berries, melons, strawberries, blueberries, apples and bananas. You can also buy special iguana food; some stores sell dried granules mixed with vegetables.
Just like rhinos, we find it hard to believe that an animal this big only lives on plants. They spend most of their day in the water, and come out at night to eat. They can eat up to 100 pounds of leaves a day! Interestingly, hippos swallow without chewing.
Horses feed on plants and fruits. They have very strong teeth capable of pulling up grass. If they live in captivity, their diet can also contain hay, carrots, apples, beets. They need a lot of food.
- Other herbivores include: deer, zebras, koalas, elks, alpacas, opossums, bison, donkeys, buffalos, Calandra larks, snails, beavers, camels, pheasants, crickets, lemurs, llamas, parrots, macaques, butterflies, orangutans, mice, reindeers, and marmoset monkeys.
In conclusion, this goes to show just how incredible nature is at providing so many different species with the resources they need to survive. Moreover, the differences between them further highlights just what a variety of species live on this planet.