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Nutrition in Animals

Nutrition in Animals

We know that plants prepare their own food, but animals eat plants and other animals for food.

What are the components of the food consumed by animals?

Carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, and vitamins are the components of the food consumed by animals. However, some components of food are complex and cannot be utilized by the body of an animal in that form. Then, how do animals utilize these components?

Complex components of food like carbohydrates are broken down into simpler substances and are then utilized by the body. This process of breaking down of complex substances into simpler substances is known as digestion.



Consumers: These organisms mainly obtain food either directly from autotrophs or indirectly from other heterotrophs. They include animals that generally ingest and then digest their food.

Consumers are divided into herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores.




The animals that feed only on plants are called herbivores. They are also known as primary consumers.

The animals that eat other animals are called carnivores. They are also known as secondary consumers.

Those carnivores, which feed on herbivores, are called primary carnivores.

There are some animals that feed on both plants and animals.
Examples include deer, rabbit, goat, horse, sheep etc. Examples include lion, cat, tiger, leopard etc. Examples include bear, turtle, squirrel, humans etc.

Decomposers: This group includes micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungi, which obtain nutrients by breaking down the remains of dead plants and animals.

Do you know consumers can be further classified as

Sanguivores: These organisms feed themselves by sucking the blood of other organisms. Example- mosquitoes, bats etc.
Frugivores: These organisms feed totally or primarily on fruits. Example- parrots etc.
Granivores: These organisms feed mainly or only on grains. Example- pigeons etc.
Insectivores: These organisms feed on insects. Example- frogs, lizards etc.
Carrion eaters or Scavengers: These organims feed on decaying flesh of dead animals. Example- vultures, hyenas etc.

Different animals have different modes of feeding.

  • Cats eat small animals such as rats, birds, insects etc.

  • Cows eat grass, while birds feed on insects.

  • Some animals such as snakes swallow their prey entirely.

  • Bees and humming birds feed by sucking nectar from flowers.

Some Interesting Facts:

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