Q:

What are some animals that eat meat and plants?

A:

Animals that eat meat and plants are called omnivores, of which humans are a prime example. Some other animals that are omnivores are bears, skunks, squirrels and red foxes.

Some reptiles, fish and insects also feed on plants and animals. For instance, the opaleye fish eat both seaweed and the small organisms that live in the seaweed. Box turtles feed on flowers and berries as well as fish and frogs. Ants are opportunistic eaters, feeding on nectar and seeds when possible and other insects if the opportunity arises.

Racoons, another example of an omnivore, display characteristics of both carnivores and herbivores. They have sharp teeth for ripping flesh and flat molars for grinding up plants. Omnivores are readily adaptable animals, allowing them to live in extreme conditions. If meat is not available, omnivores can live on plants and vice versa. This is because omnivores can digest both protein and fiber, while carnivores receive no nutritional value from plant material.

Omnivores, along with carnivores, are part of the third trophic level. The first trophic level, which includes most plants, are called autotrophs because they produce their own food. The second trophic level includes herbivores, which eat autotrophs. Species in the third trophic level rely on organisms in the second trophic level for food completely or partially.


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