Difference Between Herbivores vs. Carnivores

Main Difference

The main difference between herbivores and carnivores is that herbivores eat only plants, whereas carnivores eat only meat.

Herbivores vs. Carnivores

Animals that eat plants mainly are herbivores, whereas animals that eat only meat are carnivores. Herbivores like cows, sheep, etc. feed on grasses, aquatic vegetation, tree barks, and shrubby growth but mice and squirrel-like herbivores eat seeds and nuts whereas carnivores like tiger, lion hunt down large herbivores like buffalo, elk, cows and some small-sized feed on rodents, worms, insects, etc. Herbivores have special designed teethes that are broad, flat canines, that are in the form of spades, and short, dull incisors which enable them to rip off the plants, on the contrary, carnivores have strong jaws and short, sharp teeth, pointed canines, and long, sharp, curved incisors that allow them to tear. Herbivores have flattened nails, or have blunt hooves whereas carnivores have razor-sharp claws. Herbivores have small size mouth in ratio to their head size because they merely eat plants, grains, and seeds but on the flip side, carnivores have larger mouth openings in ratio to their head size.

Comparison Chart

HerbivoresCarnivores
Animals that eat only plants and vegetation are called herbivores.Animals that eat only meat are called carnivores.
Mouth to Head Ratio
Mouth to head ratio is smallMouth to head ratio is large
Mouth Opening
Have a small mouth opening and use the mouth for consuming foodHave a large mouth opening and use teeth as a weapon for hunting and consuming food
Teethes Structure
Have blunt, short and flat, spade-shaped canines and incisors for chewing and grinding leaves, seeds and grainsHave sharp, long, and curved incisors and canines used for tearing flesh
Digestive Enzymes
Have digestive enzymes in their salivaHave no digestive enzymes in their saliva
Hooves/Claws
Have flattened nails, or have blunt hoovesHave razor-sharp claws
Facial Muscles
Have complex facial musclesHave reduced facial muscles
Chewing Capacity
Very high chewing capacityDo not chew
Intestine structure
Longer intestines3-6 times of body length intestine

What are Herbivores?

Animals depending on plants and consuming them as their source of food and energy are called herbivore animals. Animals cannot produce their food so that they have to depend on certain types of food for their living. Herbivores are primary consumers and are directly dependent on plants. Herbivores have special biological systems to digest a variety of different plants. They have very high chewing capacity. They can detoxify vitamin A in their liver. They have digestive enzymes present in their saliva. The length of the intestine of herbivores is long. They have either simple or multiple chambered stomach. Herbivores have small size mouth in ratio to their head size because they merely eat plants, grains, and seeds. They have a small mouth opening and use it for consuming food. Herbivores have special designed teethes that are broad, flat canines, that are in the form of spades, and short, dull incisors which enable them to rip off the plants and grind them up and crush seeds and grains. They have complex facial muscles. Herbivores have flattened nails, or have blunt hooves that are why they are not very fast. The urine of herbivores is moderately concentrated. e.g, Deer, goat, sheep, cows, buffalos, giraffe, etc.

What are Carnivores?

Animals depending on meat and consuming them as their source of food and energy are called carnivore animals. As animals cannot produce their food so that they have to depend on certain types of food for their living. Carnivores are secondary consumers and are dependent on primary consumers(herbivores) for their food. Carnivores also have specialized biological systems to digest meat. Carnivores do not have chewing capacity. They do not have digestive enzymes present in their saliva. They have 3-6 times of body length intestine. The stomach of carnivores is multiple chambered. Carnivores have strong jaws and short, sharp teeth, pointed canines, and long, sharp, curved incisors that allow them to tear, rip and chew the prey. Carnivores have larger mouth openings in ratio to their head size because they not only use mouth but also utilize their sharp teethes to bring down prey. They have a large mouth opening and use teeth as a weapon for hunting and consuming food. They have reduced facial muscles. Carnivores have razor-sharp claws and also use them to capture prey. They are very fast as they have to catch their prey. The urine of carnivores is extremely concentrated. e.g, Tiger, lion, wolf, etc.

Key Differences

  1. Herbivores are animals that consume only plants and their products, whereas carnivores are animals that consume flesh and meat.
  2. Herbivores have special designed teethes that are broad, flat canines, that are in the form of spades, and short, dull incisors which enable them to rip off the plants and grind them up and crush seeds and grains but on the other hand carnivores have strong jaws and sharp teeth which are short, pointed canines, and long, sharp, curved incisors that allows them to tear, rip and chew the prey.
  3. Herbivores have small size mouth in ratio to their head size because they merely eat plants, grains and seeds but on the contrary carnivores have larger mouth openings in ratio to their head size because they not only use mouth but also utilize their sharp teethes to bring down prey.
  4. Herbivores have flattened nails, or have blunt hooves whereas carnivores have razor-sharp claws.
  5. Herbivores have complex facial muscles for chewing, but on the flip side, carnivores have reduced facial system.
  6. Herbivores have longer intestines as compare to carnivores, which are 3-6 times of body length.

Conclusion

The conclusion of the above is that herbivores are planted consumers, whereas carnivores eat flesh and meat. Herbivores have small size mouth in ratio to their head, but carnivores have largemouth in ratio to their head.

Author: