It qualifies as herbivorous to the animal whose food is based on herbs or, in a broader sense, in the vegetables in general . In some cases, species that are mainly herbivorous can consume some animal proteins through eggs or insects.
In the group of herbivorous animals, we can find granivores (they feed mostly on seeds), folklore (the leaves are his main food), frugivorous (focused on fruits) and xylophages (his diet It is based on wood). It is important to keep in mind that many times the herbivore's diet changes during the year according to the season.
The ruminants They are an example of herbivorous animals. These mammals are characterized by digestion in two steps: at first they consume the plants and then develop rumination, which is based on the regurgitation of semi-digested food to chew it again, add more saliva and undo it. The cows , the deer , the goats and the sheep They are ruminants and, therefore, herbivores.
The food chain , also known as food chain or food chain , is a stream of nutrients and energy that is created from the modes of nutrition of living things that share an ecosystem. In it it is possible to distinguish between primary producers (beings that obtain energy from inorganic nutrients) and consumers (whose energy comes from organic nutrients). Herbivorous animals are classified as primary consumers : ingest primary producers.
It should be noted that, if a human being decides to dispense with the meat in its diet, it is not defined as herbivore, but it is called vegetarian (if you eat plants, dairy and eggs) or vegan (if you do not ingest anything that has animal origin).
For the rest of the animals, there are other concepts that allow them to be classified according to their type of feeding . The carnivores , for example, are those organisms that get the nutrients and energy they need through a diet in which meat is the only product or the main one. In this group we find the predators, who hunt other animals directly and then feed on their bodies, and the scavengers, who eat the leftovers of the previous ones. In the field of ecology, the word is preferred zoophagus , which is defined as "being that feeds on animals".
On the other hand we have the omnivorous , those whose diet consists of both plants and animals. They are defined as "opportunistic eaters" and also as "generalists," since they do not possess a organism specifically adapted for a particular diet. In this group, to which we humans belong, we find several species, such as crows, bears, coatis, skunks and pigs.
There are also organisms insectivores , which feed exclusively on insects. We should not underestimate the volume of the insect population in the world: although they are very small individuals, they make up a considerable portion of the biomass Earth animal.
Among the most popular herbivorous animals are the following:
* horse : these animals are admired for their beauty and for their presence, although they are also exploited by humans to perform forced labor. Both those who are fortunate to live in nature and those who have been enslaved feed exclusively on plants, and therefore are considered herbivores;
* hippopotamus : although it has one body very robust and with the naked eye could go through a large predator, its diet consists mainly of grass;
* iguana : This reptile has a varied diet throughout its life, since during youth it includes small insects and in old age it becomes completely vegetarian.