What is an Omnivore?

What do bearded dragons, opossums, and humans have in common? Despite different bodies and lifestyles, all three of these animals are typically omnivores. An omnivore is an animal that eats both plants (and lifeforms such as fungi) and animals. Omnivores come in many shapes and sizes, as well as methods of acquiring food. For example, humans raise their own crops as well as hunt for animals. Bears hunt and eat smaller animals, but also look for berries. Tegus may eat small rodents and eggs, but enjoy fruit as well.

 

Omnivores have a distinct advantage over herbivores and carnivores: they have more food available to them. A lion's survival depends on the population of prey, whereas omnivorous primates can survive off plant matter just fine if no prey are available.

 

  • Some omnivores, like humans, have both canine incisors and molars to break down plant material
  • Other omnivores, such as the blue tongue skink, may barely have teeth at all
  • Most omnivorous reptiles' teeth don't vary much in size and shape, unlike human teeth which come in a variety of shapes and sizes

 

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