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Carnivores, Herbivores and Omnivores


Cattle, Devon, UK © Shirley Burchill

Herbivores are animals which only eat plant material. This means leaves, flowers, fruits or even wood. Sheep, horses, rabbits and snails are well known examples of herbivores which eat grass and leaves. A parrot, however, which eats fruits and nuts can also be called a herbivore.


Bears, Vincennes, France © Shirley Burchill

Omnivores eat both plants and meat. Chickens are omnivores. They eat seeds, but they can also eat worms. human beings are also omnivores, although some people choose not to eat meat. These people are called vegetarians.

The chimpanzee is omnivorous. It eats fruits, leaves, palm nuts, seeds and stems, as well as ants, birds' eggs, fish and termites. Chimpanzees will occasionally kill and eat baboons and wild pigs.


Vulture, Vincennes, France © Shirley Burchill

Carnivores eat meat. A carnivore is a predator because it has to find and catch its prey. Some carnivores, such as wolves, hunt in a group called a pack. They move silently and slowly to form a circle around their prey before they attack.

Johnny's Fact File No.6
Facts iconThe smallest carnivorous mammal is called the least weasel. This little mammal is found in North America. It's mass is 57 grammes at the most!

Other carnivores, such as the cheetah, usually hunt alone. The cheetah creeps towards its prey without being noticed, until it is 30 metres from it, then the cheetah starts to run.

Some insects are carnivores. The dragonfly, which hovers so gracefully above a pond, is hunting for other insects.

The eagle is a carnivorous bird. It flies high in the sky looking for animals, such as rabbits. When it finds one it quickly swoops to the ground. It uses its strong feet and pointed claws, called talons, to catch the rabbit. It has a very pointed beak to help it tear off the meat.

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