Cheetahs near a termite mount in South Africa. Photo courtesy of

Animals also influence other animals and plants. Animals consume plants and other animals in order to obtain their energy to survive - therefore, they are known as consumers. Animals that eat plants are called herbivores. Animals that eat other animals are called carnivores. And animals that eat both plants and animals are called omnivores.

Herbivores usually consume plants that are common to their environment. These animals have developed specific adaptations for consuming these plants, such as claws or sharp teeth to break nuts. Carnivores also have adapted for their environment. Carnivores may have long legs for speed to catch up to prey, or they may be capable of flight. For example, cheetahs can run as fast as 115 km per hr.

The following video provides examples of herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores and explains several adaptations they have have that enable them to consume energy. It also briefly discusses plant adaptations, such as the carnivorous Venus fly trap.

The number of predator, prey and plant life also influences each other. As an example, if several plants were to die off in an ecosystem, the number of herbivores would likely decrease. With fewer herbivores to feed on, carnivores might disappear as well. If there are too many carnivores, then the number of herbivores will decrease as well. If there are less herbivores, the number of plants increase. You can see how all of these factors come together in complex ways.


Last modified: Monday, 13 June 2011, 10:06 AM