Animals come from many different habitats and ecosystems from all four corners of the world, and while they are all different and they all have specific roles in the food chain, they all fall into one of three types of eaters: carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores. While their diets vary, they all play an important role in keeping the ecosystem balanced.
Animals which feed exclusively on meat are called carnivores and include creatures like tigers, vultures, and owls. Those which eat only plants and plant-based materials are called herbivores and include animals like elephants, butterflies, and squirrels. And those who eat both plants and meat are called omnivores, which include animals like cows, chickens, and pigs.
Many of these animals' diets are the result of them having less developed or specially adapted digestive systems and organs. Their teeth are also adapted to their diets; herbivores have flat molars and less pronounced canines whereas carnivores have very defined canines.
How well do you know which animal belongs to which group? Would you be able to tell if an animal was an herbivore, omnivore or carnivore just from an image of the animal? Take this quiz to see how many of them you can correctly identify!
Antelope are even-toed ungulates found in grasslands, forests and savannahs all across the world, but mostly in places like Africa and Asia. There are 91 species of these herbivores and they are known for living in herds and have a main diet of long grass.
Red foxes live in a wide variety of habitats, some of which include forests, mountains and grasslands across the world. These carnivores feed primarily on rodents, birds, rabbits and other small game animals. Although they are called red, their fur comes in three variations; red, silvery black and a mix between the two.
Blue crabs are found in estuaries and lagoons in places as warm as the Gulf of Mexico and as cold as Nova Scotia. These omnivores feed on mussels, fish, plants and smaller crabs. They have been heavily harvested as their meat is considered a delicacy in many parts of the world.
Sheep are herbivorous animals found on almost every continent on the planet, and while some of them can be found in their natural habitat, most of them have been domesticated and are used for their milk, wool and fur. They mostly feed on berries, stems and leaves.
The maned wolf is found in the dry forests, savannas and wetlands of different parts of Central and South America. These omnivorous animals feast on small mammals like rodents and rabbits, as well as fruits and vegetables.
Perch is a freshwater gamefish found in many different geographical areas of world. Although they only grow to two pounds and a length of 15 inches, these carnivorous fish feed on smaller fish, shellfish and smaller insects.
Hippos are herbivorous animals that grow to weights exceeding 3,000 pounds. They are semiaquatic mammals, which means that they are able to live in both water and on land, and are known for feeding on aquatic plants and short grass.
Elephants are large herbivorous animals found in forests, deserts and savannas all across South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. These endangered animals feed on shrubs, leaves and bark fruits.
Coyotes belong to the canine genus and are found in many parts of North America. Coyote often hunt in pairs, especially when going after larger animals. They typically feed on rabbit, deer, fruits and insects, and are also known for urinating on their food, as wells as storing the excess.
Deer are herbivorous mammals who live in a wide variety of habitats. A large number of them live in North America. They feed primarily on leaves, grass, fungi and some fruit.
The walrus is typically found near the Arctic Circle in the Northern Hemisphere. These animals weigh more than 3,500 pounds and live for more than 20 years when found in the wild. Their diet consists mostly of shrimp, crabs, sea cucumbers, soft coral and mollusk.
Hyenas are carnivorous mammals that are very similar to canines and are found in many different habitats, some of which include savannas, grasslands, and mountain ranges. Although they are typically scavengers, they sometimes hunt and usually go after other smaller mammals and reptiles.
American badgers are so named because they are found in the grasslands of North and Central America. These badgers are fossorial carnivores, meaning that they dig to find their prey, which usually includes moles, ground squirrels, and deer mice. They are also known to eat plant food, including corn and green beans.
Rabbits are herbivorous mammals found all over the world and while many of them are known for being house pets, some people also use them as a food source. They eat the bark found on trees, sprouts and twigs.
The capybara is a large semi-aquatic herbivorous rodent native to South American savannas and forests. They live in groups of 10 to 20 individuals and feed on aquatic plants, fruits, and tree bark. They are also able to swim underwater, which they do when hiding from predators and when the females are avoiding males.
Crocodiles are large semi-aquatic carnivorous reptiles that live in the tropical regions of Australia, Asia, Africa and some parts of America. Some of them grow to lengths exceeding 6 feet and surpassing weights of 2,000 pounds. They are carnivorous and feed on fish, birds and, crustaceans.
Racoons are mammals native to North America. They live in mixed and deciduous forests, but are also known to inhabit mountainous regions and coastal habitats. These extremely smart animals have an omnivorous diet which includes fruits, nuts, insects and birds.
The great white shark is a species of cartilaginous fish found in coastal waters in oceans across the world. Some of them grow to over 20 feet and weigh more than 4,000 pounds. These carnivorous animals feed on sea turtles, rays, sea lions and other sharks.
Giraffes are the world’s tallest mammals, some of them exceeding 20 feet in height. These herbivorous animals are typically found in African savannas when in the wild. They feed on fruits and grass, but mostly on the leaves of baobab trees.
Catfish are ray-finned fish so named because they have barbels which resemble the whiskers of a cat. They inhabit many bodies of water around the world and are known for eating the larvae of insects, water beetles, plants and smaller fish.
Carpenter ants are known for building their nests inside of wood creating satellite nests which can be a nuisance to many people, especially when done inside of houses. These omnivores eat dead insects, honey, and the nectar produced by some plants.
Tapir are herbivorous mammals found in regions of South and Central America, and some parts of Southeastern Asia. There are five species of this animal, all of which are endangered. They feed on leaves, small branches, and aquatic plants.
Clouded Leopards are wild cats found in the mountains of China and other parts of Southeast Asia. This carnivorous species is endangered and now numbers below 10,000 mature individuals. They feed primarily on monkeys, pigs, deer, squirrels, and birds.
Okapi are herbivorous mammals closely related to the giraffe and are known for feeding on grass, tree leaves, and fungi. They are found in tropical rain forests in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their zebra-like stripes help them to stay camouflaged in the dense forests.
Cheetahs inhabit the grasslands and savannas of the different African continents. The cheetah is the fastest land mammal and is known to run at speeds exceeding 60 miles per hour. These carnivorous animals feed on gazelles, impala, wildebeest, and other large mammals.
The Komodo Dragon is the largest species of lizards in the world and is found on a few of the Indonesian islands, specifically Komodo, Flores, and Rinca. These vulnerable animals grow to lengths of 10 feet and sometimes weigh up to 150 pounds. These carnivorous animals prey and feed on mammals, birds and other invertebrates.
The common chimpanzee belongs to the great ape species along with its close relative, the bonobo. They are found in the dry savannas, montane and evergreen forests in many African regions. They typically feed on insects, fruit and sometimes eggs, making them omnivores.
Bison are large herbivorous animals that feed on grass and shrubs. They consist of two species, American and the European. They are terrestrial animals but are exceptional swimmers and are known for moving across bodies of water over half a mile wide.
The Iberian lynx is one of the world’s most endangered felines with an estimated 400 individuals living in the forests of the Iberian Peninsula. These carnivorous animals feed primarily on wild rabbit, but are also known to eat ducks, partridge, and young deer.
The Giant Panda is an endangered animal found only in parts of Central-Western and South-Western China. They are classified in the Carnivora order but feed primarily on bamboo. In captivity, they have been known to be fed eggs and fish.
Grey Squirrels are tree squirrels native to the eastern region of North America and are also found in parts of Europe. These omnivores primarily feast on tree bark, acorns and, on rare occasions, have been seen eating insects and small rodents. They are also known for hoarding food in small caches.
Owls are nocturnal birds of prey known for their extraordinary vision. They are found in many countries around the world and are known for hunting and feeding on small mammals and insects. Some species are also capable of hunting fish.
Tasmanian Devils are native to Australia and grow to be the size of small dogs. They are mostly known from the Looney Toons cartoon and although they don’t exactly look like that, they do have a temper. These carnivorous marsupials eat smaller prey, including small kangaroos.
Cows are herbivorous domesticated animals and one of the most common animals on the planet. They are used as pets and for their milk, meat and hides. They feed primarily on grass and hay and are known for regurgitating and re-chewing their food.
Woolly monkeys originate from the tropical and dense rainforests of South America, but can be found in zoos across the world. These omnivorous animals live in groups of 10 to 45 individuals and are known for feeding on fruits, flowers, and small invertebrates.
Zebras are herbivorous equids known for their unique black and white stripes, stripes that are as unique as someone’s DNA. There are only three extant species, all of which are found on the African continent. They feed on grass, herbs, tree bark, twigs, and shrubs.
Crayfish are freshwater crustaceans found in swamps, rivers and paddy fields in many parts of the world. These omnivorous creatures have a diet that consists of living and decomposing plants and animals.
The bald eagle is a bird of prey found in many parts of North America. These animals are very sacred to Native Americans. The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States of America. These carnivorous birds are known for swooping down and snatching fish from the water.
Iguanas are herbivorous lizards native to Central and South America and parts of the Caribbean. They feed on leaves, flowers and various types of fruits. They are known for their swimming skills and near-perfect vision.
American black bears are so named because they are native to the United States. They are omnivorous creatures and their diets vary based on the time of year and their location. Some of them have been known to eat roots, tubers, fruit, insects, and salmon.
Humans belong to the family of great apes and are characterized by their ability to walk on two legs, have an erect posture, and manual dexterity. They are omnivores and are known to eat a wide varied of animals and plants.
Koalas are arboreal herbivorous mammals native to Australia. They grow to weigh 30 pounds and lengths of 33 inches. They primarily feed on eucalyptus leaves which they chew into a paste before swallowing.
Lions live in groups of 15 or more known as prides, where the females do most of the hunting and raising the young. Lions are carnivorous, and their diet consists mainly of other mammals, some of which include leopards, hyenas, and cheetahs.
Reindeer are herbivorous mammals found in parts of North America and Europe. They are known for traveling great distances during their migration period and are said to run at speeds exceeding 50 mph. Their diet consists of moss, fungi, grass, and other types of plants.
Leatherback sea turtles are so called because they lack a bony shell, unlike many other turtles. They are the largest of their kind and can be found in all tropical oceans as well as some regions of the Arctic Circle. These omnivores feed on jellyfish and other soft-bodied organisms.
The Orca, sometimes known as the killer whale, is a member of the dolphin family and is found in every major world ocean. These carnivorous apex predators feed exclusively on other marine mammals and fish. They are not known to be harmful to humans in the wild but have been known to attack their handlers once held in captivity.
Kangaroos are herbivorous marsupials closely related to the wallaby. There are four different species of kangaroo, all of which are found in Australia. They eat shrubs and grass and are known for covering over 25 feet in just a single leap.
Rheas are South American flightless birds which are said to be related to the ostrich and the emu. They live in open grasslands and woodlands and populations have appeared in parts of Germany. These omnivores have been known to feed on fruits, roots, insects, and small reptiles.
Howler monkeys belong to the New World monkeys and are native to regions in Central and South America. They belong to a group called folivores, which are a special type of herbivores that primarily eat leaves. On rare occasions, they have been seen eating eggs.
Pangolins are mammals that have unique armor-like scales made of keratin. When they feel threatened, they tend to curl up into a ball and emit noxious chemicals, similar to that of a skunk. These nocturnal carnivorous animals have a diet that consists primarily of ants and termites.