Close-up of a Galápagos giant tortoise eating plants

Herbivorous

Herbivores are animals that exist mainly on a diet of plants or algae. Some eat a wide range of plants, others are more exclusive and eat only particular types, such as monarch butterfly caterpillars which feed on milkweed and pandas on bamboo. Anatomical and physiological adaptations help some herbivores become specialists, for example, in their tolerance of spiky leaves or an in-built antidote to toxins. Other specialists restrict themselves to certain parts of a plant: hummingbirds feed on nectar and greenfly feed on sap.

Watch video clips from past programmes (9 clips)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.

View all 9 video clips

Animals with this behaviour

Mammals

Birds

Reptiles

Ray-finned fishes

Insects

Snails and slugs

Clitellata

Synapsids

BBC News about Herbivorous

  • Dwarf 'vampire' dino ate plants A bizarre dinosaur described as a cross between "a bird, a vampire and a porcupine" has been identified from fossils in South Africa.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.