Omnivorous Animals: Examples and Fun Facts

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: December 21, 2016
Omnivorous Animals: Examples and Fun Facts

Are you looking for an example of an omnivorous animal? We at AnimalWised love to discover things about the animal kingdom, and for this reason we also enjoy learning about the nutritional needs of all living things. If you already know examples of carnivores and herbivores and what you now want is information on animals that feed on both types of foods, you are in the right place.

In this article we reveal examples, fun facts and curiosities about the best known omnivorous animals. Read on and discover everything about them!

You may also be interested in: Carnivorous Animals: Examples and Fun Facts

What is an omnivorous animal?

An omnivorous animal is one that regularly feeds both on plants and other animals. Its body is not adapted to exclusively eating meat or plants; instead, it's ready to digest both of these food sources.

An omnivore's jaw combines different types of teeth to enable chewing food from all sources. They have strong molars that provide plenty of room to chew, similarly to those of herbivores, and also molars and canines that are perfect for tearing, something characteristic of carnivores.

Keep in mind that there are herbivores who very occasionally eat meat and carnivores that may in occasion feast on plants, but these are not considered omnivores. For an animal to be omnivorous, it must regularly combine animal and plant food sources in its diet.

Omnivorous Animals: Examples and Fun Facts - What is an omnivorous animal?

Examples of omnivorous mammals

  • Bear: They can be among the most opportunistic animals in existence, as they adapt perfectly to their habitat. If there is a lot of fruit in the area in which they live, then they will feed on the fruit. If instead there is a river with many fish, you will find bears fishing all day. The panda is also considered an omnivorous animal, as now and then it enjoys catching a rodent or small bird to spice up its bamboo diet.
    The only exception is the polar bear as this species is carnivorous, although this is simply because there are no vegetable food sources in its natural habitat, the Arctic.
  • Hedgehog: This is another animal that is increasingly being kept as a pet. Many believe that the hedgehog just feeds on insects and small invertebrates, but these little ones love to occasionally eat fruits and vegetables. Of course, these foods must be given in moderation.
  • Human beings: Yes, we tend to forget that we too are animals! We are characterized by our omnivorous diet; in the case of people who choose to stop eating meat they do not become herbivores, but are instead referred to as vegetarians or vegans.
  • Other omnivorous mammals: In addition to these four, which are the best known omnivorous animals, other examples include some raccoon species, mice, squirrels and skunks.
Omnivorous Animals: Examples and Fun Facts - Examples of omnivorous mammals

Examples of omnivorous birds

  • Crow: If we said that the bears are opportunistic, crows really beat them at it. As you will have seen in many films, they are always prowling around in search of dead animal remains, but besides eating carcasses they also tend eat vegetables when such food sources are lacking. Here you can discover the differences between crows, ravens and rooks.
  • Hen: They are the complete opposite of a small child, as hens will eat anything and everything. Whatever you feed it, a hen will gulp it down without a second's hesitation. However, against popular belief, feeding hens bread is not beneficial because they will lay fewer eggs.
  • Ostrich: Although their main dietary staples are vegetables and plants, ostriches are devoted fans of insects and whenever possible they will eat one up.
  • Magpie: These birds will also eat just about anything, although they are usually fed with dry feed for parrots or even for dogs.
Omnivorous Animals: Examples and Fun Facts - Examples of omnivorous birds

Other omnivorous animals

Other than mammals and birds, it should also be noted that among reptiles and fish we can also find omnivorous animals, such as the infamous piranhas and some kinds of turtles. Maybe you believed that piranhas wait around for some unwary victim to fall into the water - an unsurprising thought, as films influence us so much!

Do you know more omnivorous animals and fun facts that are not on this list? Surely you do. Share them with us so we can add all your suggestions!

Omnivorous Animals: Examples and Fun Facts - Other omnivorous animals

If you want to read similar articles to Omnivorous Animals: Examples and Fun Facts, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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Anna La Vell
This was very good but should tell more information about omnivores

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