Getting to Know Herbivorous Animals: Characteristics and Examples

Herbivorous Animals – This morning the air is very bright. The forest dwellers greeted this bright morning with joy. Herds of sheep with thick fur resembling blankets have gathered in the meadows together with herds of cows, horses and giraffes, they are ready to eat the green grass that grows in the vast expanses of the meadows.

Meanwhile, on the other hand, Pak Tani is seen feeding his best friend’s little rabbit. These cute little rabbits eat the carrots given by Mr. Farmer with gusto.

Well, Sinaumed’s, from the story fragment above, surely you already know the types of animals in the story above. Can anyone answer the types of animals in the story above? Yes, that’s right, if you look at the type of food consumed, the animals above are herbivorous animals. Why is that? To be clearer, consider the following review of herbivorous animals.

Definition of herbivores

From the story above, it can be concluded that herbivorous animals are animals that eat plants, both leaves, seeds, or fruits. They survive by relying on the plants that live around them.

The species of herbivorous animals range from small insects to large mammals. According to the story above, herbivorous animals live in groups with their own kind, such as in meadows, forests, then some are in rice fields, scattered in various parts of the world.

Herbivorous animals live in groups close to the food sources of these animals, some live with their families, such as elephants and their children. At the level of the food chain, herbivorous animals enter the first level consumer group or primary consumers.

However, herbivorous animals are also producers for carnivorous animals which occupy positions as second level consumers in the food chain. Because the food material is plants, herbivores do not need sharp fangs to tear their food, but have wide textured molars, which allow them to digest their food easily.

Herbivores are also divided into types of herbivores that eat certain parts of plants, and herbivores that eat all parts of plants. Fruit-eating herbivores are known as frugivores . There are other herbivorous animals that only eat leaves, known as folivores .

The next, herbivorous wood-eating animals, known as xylophagus . Apart from animals, parasitic plants are also considered herbivores. Parasites are organisms that depend on other organisms for life. Parasitic plants get nutrition from other plants called hosts, so parasitic plants are also categorized as herbivores.

Mostly, plant-eating animals are docile, many are even kept by humans, to be bred for consumption as a fulfillment of nutrition from animal protein, such as beef, mutton, and so on. In addition, herbivorous animals are also bred by humans for livestock, which are then taken for their fur, skin and milk as well. Because they are classified as tame animals, it is not uncommon for these herbivorous animals to become prey for carnivorous animals.

Characteristics of herbivores

Every living creature must have uniqueness, both physical characteristics, food consumed, living habitat, and so forth. Likewise with herbivorous animals. Herbivorous animals have characteristics that are definitely different from carnivores and omnivores. What are the special characteristics of this herbivorous animal? Let’s continue reading the review.

  1. The main food is in the form of plants, be it leaves, fruit, or wood.
  2. Including viviparous animals, or those that reproduce by giving birth.
  3. Including the group of mammals, or suckling.
  4. Most of its habitat on land.
  5. Including warm-blooded animals, or animals that are able to maintain their body temperature, at certain temperatures stably.
  6. Having molars with a wide texture.
  7. Does not have sharp canine teeth.
  8. The majority of these herbivorous animals have four legs.
  9. Have a backbone or often referred to as vertebrate animals.
  10. Many cultivated and used by humans.
  11. In general, they fall prey to carnivorous animals.



Herbivore digestive system 

Herbivores have textured teeth adapted for cutting and chewing their food. The teeth of herbivorous animals do not have sharp canines, but are equipped with incisors which function to cut their food, and molars which function to grind their food.

Animals have 4 activities when eating, namely prehensile (taking food), mastication (chewing), salivation (secreting saliva), and deglutisi (swallowing food). Herbivorous animals have a large number of stomachs or a long caecum .

An example is a cow which is a ruminant animal or a ruminant animal. Cows have four stomachs that function to maximize the process of digesting food. These four stomachs are the rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum.

In the first and second stomach or rumen and reticulum is the stomach which functions as a temporary warehouse for food that has been swallowed. In this stomach food will be digested enzymatically by enzymes produced by bacteria or its symbiont microbes.

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After that the food will be vomited back into the mouth and chewed a second time, then passed on to the omasum where there are glands that produce enzymes, these enzymes are then mixed with the bolus. The bolus will be forwarded to the abomasum, which is the actual stomach.

In other herbivores it is equipped with a long caecum . The caecum is the junction between the small intestine and the large intestine. In other animals, there is a short intestine called the appendix. Caecum in herbivores serves as a site for enzymatic digestion of cellulose. Inside the cecum there are cellulotic microbes that are in symbiosis with herbivorous animals.

Wow, long yes, the process of digestion. So where do you get the nutrition from? Well, herbivorous animals rely on plants or other autotrophs as a source of nutrition. Stiff plant structure, will be difficult to digest, because animals do not have cellulose enzymes. So, herbivores will carry out symbiotic mutualism, or have a mutually beneficial relationship with non-pathogenic cellulotic microorganisms, ranging from protozoa to bacteria.



Examples of herbivores

Surely you are increasingly curious, how and what are the examples of these herbivorous animals? Check out the following explanation.


Cows are the same as goats. Many people raise cattle, especially in Indonesia, because raising cattle has many benefits, namely to produce offspring that can be bred again, the meat can be taken to make steaks, sausages, satay and other preparations because they are tasty and delicious.

In addition, cows can be taken for their milk because they contain protein which functions to build immunity in the body. Their hides are taken, both for food processing and for raw materials for crafts such as shadow puppets, shoes, bags, and so on.

Then the manure can be used for plant fertilizer, as well as biogas, as an alternative to fuel for household needs. Wow, that’s a lot of benefits.

Before the discovery of the field plowing tractor, in ancient times, cows were used by farmers to plow their fields. Apart from that, cows were also used as a means of transportation in ancient times, which connected one village to another.

The main food of this cow is grass. So, it is certain that this animal is a herbivore animal. Cows are widely spread all over the world. There are Limousin cattle from France, Brahman cattle from the United States, Simental cattle from Australia, and many other types of cattle that we can find in Indonesia.


Rabbits are mammals from the Leporidae family . Rabbits reproduce by giving birth, or are called viviparous. The name rabbit comes from the Dutch language, namely konijntje which means rabbit.

This means that Indonesian people have known rabbits since the colonial era, even though in 1972 on the island of Sumatra a species of Sumatran rabbit (Nesolagus netscheri) was found. Currently rabbits are cultivated as pet rabbits and broiler rabbits.

But in general, rabbits are divided into two types, namely wild rabbits and domestic rabbits. Wild rabbits are also divided into two, namely hares (Lepus curpaeums) and wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus).

Rabbits have a simple digestive system, are herbivorous animals that cannot digest fiber properly, they are called pseudo-ruminant livestock. The main food for rabbits is carrots, other types of vegetables, even fruits.

In Indonesia, especially the island of Java, many rabbits are raised commercially in the Lembang area, where ornamental rabbits are the prima donna for breeders. There are also many consumers of broiler rabbits in Lembang, especially the culinary type of rabbit satay being the main commodity. So, rabbits that are not included in the decorative rabbit category, are used as culinary processed ingredients.


This animal looks cute and adorable. Panda is part of the bear family which was discovered in central China in 1869. Even though it is classified as an omnivore, its hobby for eating young bamboo makes pandas also fall into the category of herbivorous animals.

Uniquely, pandas will consume bamboo when they are on a diet, even though these pandas are able to consume quite a lot of bamboo in a day. Pandas need to eat that much, because even though bamboo contains protein, sugar, fat and other nutrients, most of the calories possessed by bamboo are locked in cellulose fiber which is difficult to digest. Pandas are able to chew bamboo with very fast movements. Apart from having sharp teeth, pandas also have a throat specially designed by the creator, so that they can withstand the sharpness of bamboo. Unique right?

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This one mammal is also unique, has a fairly large body, has narrow eyes, wide fan-like ears, and a long nose which is called a proboscis. Elephants are herbivorous animals that live in various habitats, such as grasslands, forests, deserts and swamps.

The female elephant is an animal that loves the family. Female elephants live in groups with families. Usually a group consists of one female with her young, or several female groups live in contact with their young. In large groups, the oldest individual female elephant, usually called the grandmother elephant, will be the leader of this group.

Sinaumed’s, it turns out that elephants need 16 hours per day to collect food in the form of plants around them. Elephant food consists of grass, leaves, twigs, roots, a little fruit and flowers.

Elephants must consume large amounts of food, as elephants only digest about 40% of the food they eat. The texture of the molars that elephants have is quite a lot to chew so much food too. In a day, an adult elephant can consume 140 kilograms to 270 kilograms of food.

However, sixty percent of the food that enters the body is only left in the body, alias is not digested. Another unique part of the elephant’s body is the trunk. The trunk is an important body part for elephants. The trunk has strong muscles, the trunk functions to help eat, drink, and even help humans who will climb onto their backs. Isn’t that amazing?


The giraffe is perhaps the only herbivorous animal that has a long neck compared to other herbivorous animals. The function of this long neck will help the giraffe reach its food which is in a tall tree.

Even though it is very long, the giraffe’s neck is only composed of seven vertebrae similar to the arrangement of the human neck. In addition to reaching for food that is located far above. The giraffe’s long neck is also used as a weapon to defend itself in the event of an attack from the enemy. What often happens is a fight between male giraffes over a female. Wow, it looks like a human.


This herbivorous animal plays an important role in human life. Horses are useful for helping humans, from being used as a means of transportation, for sports facilities, to war purposes. But recently, horses have also been widely processed into delicious culinary delights, in the form of horse satay and there are also other products in the form of wild horse milk.

Apart from living for breeding, horses also breed wildly, in Indonesia the population is in the Sumbawa area, NTB. The main food sources for horses are hay and leaves. These two types of horse food are the most important nutrients for horses. Horses are animals that can produce great power to pull transportation equipment, as well as race on the horse racing track.

Nowadays, providing nutrition for horses must be really considered when keeping horses. The sources of nutrients used are also diverse. This is because some horses have a tendency to be hyperactive, in other words overly excited and overly excited.

So, the type of food that is appropriate to give is food that releases its energy slowly such as fiber and oil. This type of food contains the safest type of energy and causes minimal disease.

For horses that are lazy and inactive, it is more suitable to be given feed with a type of food that can release its energy content quickly, such as starch contained in cereals or grains such as oats and barley. However, this feeding must also be adjusted for certain horses, because some foods have the potential to cause various types of diseases.

Well, Sinaumed’s, that’s a bit of a story about herbivorous animals, starting from the definition, characteristics, and some examples of unique herbivorous animals. Interesting to follow right?

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