Choose Category

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: What’s For Dinner? Animal Diet Types

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: What’s For Dinner?

Animal Diet Types

The term vore is Latin for the phrase “one that eats.” Scientists use this root term in different ways when describing animals and the foods that make up their diets. Let’s take a look at how that works:

For example, herbivores are animals that get their energy from plants only. (The word herb is Latin for plant.) Herbivores also have special digestive systems that help them to break down the plant matter they eat. Many monkeys and insects in the rainforest are herbivores. Herbivores need a lot of energy to live and often will eat all day long. They sleep a lot too!

Animals that are carnivores eat other animals, which quite often are herbivores. (The word carni is Latin for “flesh.”) In the rainforest, the carnivores that most likely come to mind are the big jungle cats such as tigers and jaguars. But rainforest carnivores also include plants, fish, insects and birds too, like the giant condors.

An omnivore eats plants too, but only the fruit or vegetable part of the plant. Omnivores also eat other animals. (The word omni comes from the Latin word “all”). Omnivores, like carnivores, hunt for their food. Some omnivores are scavengers and eat dead animals. Others steal eggs from other animals' nests or burrows.

Dusky Titi Monkey Rainforest Animal Diet Types
What do you suppose a frugivore eats? If you guessed fruit, you would be correct. Frugivores, despite their funny name, can be an herbivore or omnivore;  they just prefer fruit above all other foods. In fact, approximately 20 percent of all mammals are frugivores. Remember that the next time you eat an apple slice or peel a banana!

Something to Think About: Why might the rainforest be a good place for frugivores? Think about animals you might find where you live. What would you classify them as? How about humans? 

Want to Learn More? Check out the Northwestern University education pages on Herbivores, Carnivores, and Omnivores. For more on Titi Monkeys, check out Animal Corner and the Titi Monkey page at the National Zoo.

Rainforest Kids Science curriculum connection: Unit 3, Chapter 5, Lesson 1, GK-5

To access full course

Already subscribed? Click here