Difference Between Herbivores and Carnivores

As we know, the food chain is divided based on the type of food the living being eats. All living beings, who depend on any type of intakes for survival are present in the food chain.


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The top-most is where the humans and then follows, omnivores, carnivores and herbivores, followed by the smaller organisms.

Many think that the only difference between herbivores and carnivores is the food they eat. But because of the food they consume, it brings about many other changes in their body and structure as well to suit their needs. Do you know them?

Key Takeaways

  1. Herbivores are animals that primarily eat plants and vegetation; carnivores are animals that primarily eat meat and animal tissue.
  2. Herbivores have adapted digestive systems that can break down cellulose and extract nutrients from plant material; carnivores have shorter digestive tracts and strong stomach acids to digest meat efficiently.
  3. Herbivores tend to have flat teeth for grinding and chewing plant material; carnivores have sharp teeth and claws for hunting and tearing flesh.

Herbivores vs Carnivores

The difference between Herbivores and Carnivores is that herbivores have sharp incisors teeth and strong grinding teeth to cut and grind plants and plant parts. Whereas carnivores have sharp, curved incisors with sharp and long canines and strong grinding teeth to cut, tear and grind flesh.

Herbivores vs Carnivores

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Herbivores are the animals who eat herbs or parts of plants and plants. Some of them eat fruits and flowers while others eat only green leaves.

Not all herbivores eat the same type of plants. Depending on their environment and the vegetation, they adapt their food.

Examples of herbivores: elephant, deer, etc.

Carnivores are the animals who hunt and kill live preys for food. They are above the herbivores in the food chain.

This means that mostly the herbivores are the live preys for the carnivores. Some carnivores may hunt smaller carnivores as their prey for food as well.

Examples of carnivores are cheetah, leopard, etc.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonHerbivoresCarnivores
FoodThey eat only plants and greeneries.They eat other animals, mainly herbivores.
TeethThey have sharp incisors and good grinding teeth.They have sharp canines and grinding teeth.
Digestive systemThey have a stronger digestive system to break down the cellulose of the plantsThey have stronger functioning intestines
Body structureHas a smaller body proportion that is not meant for huntingBigger and fierce body proportion.
ClawsHave flat and blunt clawsHave sharp, long and narrow claws for hunting preys.

What is Herbivores?

Herbivores are the animals who eat plants or parts of plants. Examples are deer, sheep, etc.

Since plants have cellulose that is hard to digest, they also have strong digestive systems and enzymes in their mouth that can break down cellulose easily. Some animals like cows have three chambers of the stomach for the better digestive system.

They have sharp incisors for cutting the plant and blunt and flat canines since they do not need to use it much. They also have strong grinding teeth for grinding the intake.

According to where they get their food from, their body structure differs but in general all herbivores are weak. They have flat and blunt claws that are not meant for hunting.


What is Carnivores?

Carnivores are the animals who hunt and kill other live prey for food. Example are lion, tiger, cheetah, etc.

Since the meat or flesh of animals is not hard to digest, they do not require a strong digestive system or enzymes in their mouth. But they do have long intestines, almost five to six times to their body size.

They have sharp and curved incisors for cutting the flesh. They also have sharp, long and pointed canines in the front for tearing the flesh away from the prey and strong grinding teeth at the back for completely breaking down the flesh.

Since they hunt preys, they usually have a strong and fierce physique. Unlike herbivores, carnivores have sharp and long claws for hunting. They hunt both herbivores and smaller carnivores.


Main Differences Between Herbivores and Carnivores

  1. Herbivores, as the name suggests, eats only herbs or plants and parts of plants in general. Whereas, carnivores, as one may know, eats other animals or hunts and eats live preys. They are above the herbivores on the food chain.
  2. Since herbivores only have plants, they have sharp incisors for cutting the leaves and strong grinding teeth. Their canines are usually flat and blunt.
    In the case of carnivores, they have curved sharp incisors, with sharp and pointed canines. They also have good and strong grinding teeth.
  3. Plants contain cellulose that is hard to digest or break down. So, herbivores have a strong digestive system and good enzymes in their mouth for the breakdown.
    Whereas, carnivores have longer intestines, but no enzymes in the mouth as the flesh is not hard to digest as compared to plants.
  4. Since carnivores have to hunt for their preys, they have a sleek and fierce body and a larger body proportion than herbivores. Herbivores have weaker body proportions as they are not meant for hunting.
  5. Herbivores don’t have claws. They have flat, blunt and short nails that can sometimes give a good grip for climbing trees or swimming.
    The carnivores have sharp, long and pointed claws for hunting and killing of live preys.
Difference Between Herbivores and Carnivores
  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.0022-1112.2004.00495.x
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-017-1890-5_16
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