Herbivores vs. Carnivores

Difference between Herbivores and Carnivores The terms herbivore and carnivore are used to distinguish between animals based on…

Difference between Herbivores and Carnivores

The terms herbivore and carnivore are used to distinguish between animals based on how they acquire their energy – food to be exact. In a sense, herbivores can never be carnivores as much as carnivores cannot be herbivores. However, omnivores are animals which can be both a herbivore and carnivore. Humans are a perfect example.

When an animal only eats plants, it is called an herbivore. Leafy plants, fruits, seeds, or grass are some examples of plant foods. Teeth structure is one of the easily distinguishable characteristics of herbivores. Since they feed on plants alone, they have teeth that are flat, broad, and dull-edged. These properties allow them to cut off plant stalks, leaves, or grass and grind them completely. Herbivores also have flat and blunt hooves the help them travel over squishy or soggy terrain.


Animals that feed only on meat are called carnivores. They hunt and eat the flesh of other animals. Some animals consume their prey whole; bones included. They have extremely sharp teeth, helping them tear skin and flesh and to rip through bones. Also, carnivores generally have sharp claws or talons which enable them to get a good grip of their prey when attacking and eating.

A special group of carnivores exists and they are special because they are, technically, not animals, but plants. These carnivorous plants feed on insects and small animals; the reason that  they are sometimes called insectivorous plants. The famous Venus flytrap is an example.


Differentiating Between Carnivores and Herbivores
Carnivores and Herbivores differ greatly in many aspects. Characteristics-wise, herbivores do not need to be agile and fast since they only need to feed on immobile plant life; with the exception of course of those who need to constantly evade predators. In contrast, carnivores need to be especially fast, agile, and of course equipped with deadly claws or other specialized parts for them to effectively capture their food.

Both carnivores and herbivores are important in maintaining the balance of nature. Without either one, the ecosystem would surely collapse.

Things to Remember:

  • Carnivores eat meat from other animals while herbivores are plant eaters.
  • Both carnivores and herbivores have specialized body parts designed to cater to their individual needs.



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