What is an Omnivore?


Omnivores are similar to both carnivores and herbivores because they eat both plants and animals. It is very easy for omnivores to find food because they eat pretty much anything. This means that they are opportunistic eaters and eat whatever is available to them at the time. For many their diet changes depending on what time of year it is or where they live.

              [Bears]                           [Ostrich]                   [Raccoon]

 Bears eat both meat and plant foods; in the spring they eat fish and in the fall they eat berries. Ostriches normally eat grass but if lizards are available they will eat them as well. One of the best examples of opportunistic eaters is raccoons. Raccoons aren’t very picky eaters; they eat mice, frogs, fish, insects, fruit, vegetables and even garbage.

Omnivores in the Desert

Jerboas, roadrunners and rabbit eared bandicoot are all omnivores in the desert ecosystem. The jerboa is a type of rodent that likes to eat plant seeds and insects. Roadrunners, a type of bird, sometimes likes to eat fruit but they also like to eat small rodents. The rabbit eared bandicoot also known as the bilby likes to eat fruits and plants but also likes to eat lizards and insects.

JerboaRoadrunnerRabbit Eared Bandicoot
        [Jerboa]                         [Roadrunner]           [Rabbit Eared Bandicoot]

Omnivores in the Water

In the water there are many carnivores and herbivores but there are also some omnivores. Catfish, damselfish, and parrotfish are just some of the omnivores that live in the water.
     [Catfish]                       [Parrotfish]                       [Damselfish]
These fish eat phytoplankton and other smaller fish like shrimp. There are also cleaner fish in the water, these fish feed on small plant and food pieces in the water but they also feed on parasites. Parasites are tiny animals that feed on larger animals for their nutrients, and many times they make the host animal sick. 

Omnivores in the Forest

In the forest food chain different types of birds can be omnivores. Have you ever seen a bird in your front yard looking for a worm? Well that bird, whether it is a robin or a blue jay, is an omnivore because it eats seeds but it also eats worms.

[Bird]                        [Mouse]                             [Ants]       

 Other omnivores you see in the forest ecosystem are ants, and mice.

Omnivores in the Arctic

In the arctic, the grizzly bear is one type of omnivore.
Here's an interesting fact:
scientists have found that 75% of grizzly bears can live off of plants alone. Though they seem to like plants these bears also like to eat small rodents, insects and honey. Arctic ground squirrels are also omnivores in the arctic, they like to eat most of any plant but they also like to eat insects, and carrion.
 Grizzly BearGround Squirrel
                      [Grizzly Bear]       [Ground Squirrel]    

Are you an Omnivore?

[Food in our Diet]

Most people in our society are omnivores. In a normal human diet there are both plant and animal foods. What are some producers that you eat? What are some consumers that you eat?

Did you know?

When you eat meat it cost more money than when you eat fruits, vegetables and grains. Meat is more expensive because it has to be processed unlike fruits and vegetables that you can just pick, wash and eat. One easy way to save money on your food is to grow your own fruits and vegetables.

Processed Food Cartoon

Lesson Plan Quiz Homework Activity The Food Chain