The type of food is key to the classification of animals: in addition to herbivores and carnivores, there are also the so-called ‘omnivorous animals’ , those that have evolved in such a way that they tolerate foods from both diets.
Let’s know a little more about the characteristics and diet of omnivorous animals.
- You may be interested: Carnivorous animals: what they are, characteristics and types.
What are omnivorous animals
As we have been anticipating, omnivorous animals are those whose usual diet consists of plants and other living beings alike. In this way, to consider an animal omnivorous, there should not be a predominance of one or another type of food in its diet, but rather a balance between both.
Evolution has endowed these creatures with traits typical of herbivores and carnivores, forming a kind of hybrid whose body has adapted to digest these nutrients. For example, the jaws of omnivorous animals have different types of teeth : from premolars and posterior molars that allow them to chew leaves, plants and roots, to canines to be able to grind meat and tear bones or tendons.
You may be interested: 30 animals about to become extinct that you should know. Difference between omnivorous and opportunistic animal
We already talked about this in our article on carnivorous animals. In it, we stressed that there are times when both herbivores and carnivores are forced to vary their usual diet due to the lack of food that, by their nature, they consume.
Opportunistic are all animals, but if the food around them is scarce , so it will not be considered an omnivorous animal, for example, a lion that, due to the lack of nues or gazelles, eats grass.
We insist, omnivorous animals are omnivorous because they feed in the same proportion, and with the same frequency, on meat and vegetation.Characteristics of omnivorous animals The fact
that evolution has provided some animals with omnivorous feeding techniques brings both advantages and disadvantages for the species in question. Benefits of omnivorous animals
Adaptation to the environment has allowed omnivorous animals to incorporate all kinds of food they find into their diet. Fortunately for them, this essential characteristic makes it easier for them to find sustenance to survive , since they are not conditioned to one type of food.
In this way, the adaptability of omnivorous animals is greater than that of their colleagues with a single diet, so they can survive in diverse environments (if we base ourselves on their way of obtaining sustenance and ignore other factors, such as the non-existence of of predators around). Disadvantages of omnivorous animals
However, although it seems that omnivorous animals have an evolutionary advantage that others do not, the truth is that being situated between two types of diet has its consequences.
In short, omnivores fail to fully assimilate either the proteins in meat or the iron or mineral salts in vegetables. In this way, in case of feeding in excess of green or red,There will come a time when they will have to restore this decompensation by supplying their body with foods of the opposite kind that give them other nutrients that their body also needs. Examples of omnivorous animals
Let’s look at some examples of classes of omnivorous animals that belong to the fauna of various ecosystems. 1. Mammals The great family of mammals includes those animal species typically known for their omnivorous habits. Pig
In any of its subspecies, whether those used in livestock or those that have been raised in the wild (such as wild boars or warthogs), pigs are the classic example of an omnivorous animal that is first taught in schools.Opossum
This species of marsupial, considered invasive for its attacks on farm chickens, is also part of the omnivorous animals. In addition, they are very beneficial for the control of certain pests, such as rats and insects. However, fruit is also on their daily menu . Chimpanzee
One of the closest relatives of the human being is famous for not being disgusted by any type of food.
Years ago, they were considered fully herbivorous and frugivorous, but with the study of these primates, it was discovered that they also had hunting habits , even cannibalistic, when it comes to members of rival clans. foxes
Let no one be fooled by its wolfish appearance, as this distant cousin of the great wolves consumes fruit, herbs, insects and small animals .
Another relative of wolves, dogs, are also omnivorous animals. Human Beings
As you may well have deduced, our species is purely omnivorous by nature, regardless of the personal decisions of each one with his regime.