|What is a herbivore?
Herbivores are at the
second level of the food chain and mainly eat plants. Herbivores are
considered primary consumers and are the first
consumers on the food chain.
Herbivores don’t always eat the same things. Herbivores like squirrels
eat grass and small plants near the ground and are called
grazers. Herbivores that
eat leaves, shoots, and twigs are called
browsers. Very large animals like
elephants, rhinos, and moose are grazers and browsers.
It is hard for some herbivores to
plants so they eat a lot of them in order to get the nutrients they
need. Animals that eat grass have ridges in their teeth in order to help
them chew food into smaller pieces so they can digest it easier.
Herbivores, many times, have bodies that help them get the food that
they need. Giraffes have long necks because they need them to reach the
the tops of acacia trees so they can get
Some herbivores eat all of a plant but others only eat certain parts,
like seeds, fruits, or flowers. Caterpillars are one type of herbivore
that only eats part of a plant, they only eat the leaves.
Herbivores have bodies that help them in getting
their food. Animals like deer can bend down easily so that they can eat
sometimes have to re-chew their food in order to break it down enough
for their body to absorb the energy they need. The food they ate comes
back up into their mouth after it was already in their stomach for
awhile and they re-chew it, this food is called
cud. Animals like sheep,
cows and deer are examples of herbivores that chew their food twice.
Herbivores in other Ecosystems
Herbivores in the Desert
In the desert there are many smaller animals that eat only plants. There
are many species of small rodents in the desert; some of these animals
are kangaroo rats and mice. These small animals eat mainly seeds.
The desert tortoise has a hard shell to keep itself safe while it
searches for food in the hot desert, some of the things these turtles
eat are, grasses and cactus fruits.
The sand grouse is a bird in the desert; they are camouflaged and search
the ground for seeds.
Though there are many small desert herbivores, there are also
some large desert herbivores as well. The camel is one example of a
large desert herbivore; they eat coarse grass and thorny shrubs. If
camels can’t find the producers they need for food they can also use the
food stored in their humps.
Herbivores in the Water
In underwater ecosystems there are many different herbivores. The
herbivores in these ecosystems mainly eat algae and phytoplankton. These
herbivores are called zooplankton
which means wandering animals. Some of the animals that are considered
zooplankton are newly hatched shrimp, crabs, fish, sea worms, and water
Herbivores in the forest
In the forest there are many different kinds of herbivores some eat
parts of plants, some eat all of plants, some eat seeds, and some eat
Bird, bees, and butterflies eat nectar from
flowers to get the nutrients they need to survive. Small animals in the
forest called rodents eat the seeds of plants and insects eat the leaves
Rabbits and squirrels eat whatever kind of
plant food they can find on the forest floor.
Herbivores in the Arctic
Arctic is very cold and includes both land and water animals. In the
arctic waters there are zooplankton but on land there are many other
herbivores. Some arctic land herbivores include lemmings, arctic hares,
musk ox, caribou, and ptarmigan. Most of these animals eat plant leaves,
grasses, and herbs.
Are you an herbivore?
There are people in our society that eat mainly plants and don’t eat
meat, we call these people vegetarians.
Vegetarians are more like herbivores than any other kind of consumer
because they eat mostly fruits and vegetables which are plants.
[Fruits and Vegetables]