1. Homepage
  2. »
  3. Blog
  4. »
  5. 20 Animals That Eat Both Plants And Animals

20 Animals That Eat Both Plants And Animals

plant and meat-based food on the table

20 Animals That Eat Both Plants And Animals

We usually categorize animals as herbivores or carnivores. When we see a predator, we assume it eats meat; when we see prey, we suppose it eats only plants.

When in reality, many of these creatures feed upon both plants and meat. 

In this article, we will talk about animals that eat both plants and animals and some other interesting facts about their diets.

What Do You Call Animals That Eat Both Plants and Meat?

Let’s first start with the obvious question.  What is an animal that feeds on meat and plants called?

An organism feeding upon meat and plants is known as an omnivore. The word omnivore, translated from Latin, means ‘to eat or devour all.’

Omnivores are an unchained part of our ecosystem. They range in size, from a few-inch rat to large animals like grizzly bears. Omnivores hunt other animals, but they are also hunted by other animals.

Depending on the location, species, food availability, and many other factors, omnivores feed on a wide variety of food. For example, they eat meat and carrion of various animals, fruits, seeds, leaves, twigs, and many other plant-based foods.

Now that you’ve learned a few basic things about omnivores let’s know more about these animals that eat both plants and animals.

Examples of Animals That Eat Both Plants and Animals 

  • Dogs
  • Pigs
  • Grizzly Bears
  • Hedgehogs
  • Squirrels
  • Ostriches
  • Seagulls
  • Ducks
  • Foxes
  • Raccoons
  • Humans
  • Monkeys
  • Piranhas
  • Coyotes
  • Black Bears
  • Bearded Dragons
  • Jackals
  • Rats

Dogs

Scientific Name: Canis lupus familiaris
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore

If you have a pet dog, you already know they are omnivores and that your dog needs a balanced diet, which consists of meat and veggies.

Most dog food has a good mix of grains, grind meat, and pounded vegetables. While dogs were historically carnivore animals, they can consume both because of the enzyme amylase.

It is a special protein secreted by the pancreas and salivary glands, converting complex carbohydrates to simple sugars.

Although dogs are omnivores, there are specific foods that they cannot eat because it is either toxic or poisonous for them to consume. It includes chocolate, onions, garlic, avocados, and sugary food.

Pigs

Scientific Name: Sus scrofa domesticus
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore

Some people assume that pigs are herbivores as they believe that these animals merely eat grains and greens. When in reality, pigs are animals that eat both plants and meat.

In addition, pigs are animals that eat a lot and can feed on almost anything. If you set them free in a city, they will likely scavenge on garbage and trash.

Also, if you let them roam around a field or forest, pigs will eat corn or plants along the way. Although, their diet mainly includes plants and fruits.

Born scavengers mean pigs can eat almost everything, even their young. There are some reports that they eat the carcasses of other adult pigs.

Grizzly Bears

Scientific Name: Ursus arctos horribilis
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore

Considering how huge grizzly bears are, most of us will assume they are pure carnivores. Surprisingly though, these bears’ diets are mainly composed of plants, fruits, and nuts.

Grizzly bears are observed to consume more plants during the months of June to August. They munch on grass, horsetail, clover, dandelion, and nuts.

Their meat diet includes salmon, moose, squirrels, mice, and bison. Being natural scavengers, it is not rare to see these animals eating dead animals.

However, some human food, such as alcoholic beverages and avocados, are poisonous to these wild beasts. So, it is advisable not to leave your food unattended in bear-infested forests.

Hedgehogs

Scientific Name: Erinaceinae
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore

Hedgehogs are small, prickly creatures that also consume both animals and plants. Most do not really know about their diet because people focus more on their adorable appearance.

Their primary diet includes what we call the crawlies, such as beetles, slugs, worms, caterpillars, and millipedes. In cases of pets, hedgehogs are provided with dog or cat-based wet food as these meals are high in protein.

Their green diet comprises cucumbers, leafy vegetables, corn, peas, and carrots. Though, most hedgehogs will likely turn around their back when offered a worm as they are not fond of plants too much.

Squirrels

Scientific Name: Sciuridae
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore

Squirrels have the stereotypical diet of just eating nuts. In reality, these climbing rodents include a variety of meals in their diet.

Besides nuts, squirrels feed on seeds, fruits, and, interestingly, flowers! These flowers include hibiscus, tulips, roses, rhododendrons, and forsythia.

When opportunity allows, squirrels will be excited to eat eggs, insects, caterpillars, and small animals. They can also munch carrion they might find. 

Some foods are not advisable for squirrels. However, it might be surprising for some to know that these rodents cannot eat pine nuts, dried corns, sunflower seeds, and cashew.

It appears that the following are unhealthy to be part of squirrels’ diet.

Ostriches

Scientific Name: Struthio
Type of Animal: Bird
Diet: Omnivore

Ostriches live in deserted areas and savannas, so it is quite challenging to guess what they eat. But, it makes sense that these large birds will eat anything available.

These desert birds’ diets compose of roots, seeds, and leaves. When not satisfied, ostriches will check on lizards, snakes, insects, and rodents to eat.

2007 study published by Tropical Animal Health and Production provides that there are toxic plants, such as ragwort and syringa berry, that can be poisonous to ostriches.

It leads these birds to suffer organ failure, muscle tremors, and worse, death.

Seagulls

Scientific Name: Larinae
Type of Animal: Bird
Diet: Omnivore

Another bird on our list that eats animals and plants is a seagull. Their omnivorous diets compliment their scavenging habits.

In the wild, seagulls mostly eat fish, crustaceans, insects, small mammals, reptiles, and other smaller birds. They are also fond of berries, nuts, and fruits.

However, seagulls have been spending more and more time loitering around human-populated ports to scavenge. It seems that these scavenging birds found out that stealing human food is more manageable than hunting.

Considering the depleting resources and ongoing food competition, seagulls find an easier way to feed themselves. 

So, it is no surprise that some of these seagulls have a diet mainly composed of human food and garbage.

Ducks

Scientific Name: Anas Platyrhynchos
Type of Animal: Bird
Diet: Omnivore

In cartoons and films, it is frequently shown how humans feed ducks with bread. When in fact, these types of food are dangerous to the animals’ health.

Ducks’ natural diet includes food on aquatic vegetation, such as weeds, insects, worms, tiny water snails, and crayfish.

Feeding ducks with bread will jeopardize their overall health. It contains low nutrition, which can hinder ducks’ growth and development.

Ducks are excited to receive human food as they are easily accessible resources without knowing the health risk it carries.

Foxes

Scientific Name: Vulpes
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore

Foxes are omnivores, having a healthy diet, both consisting of animals and plants. Living in the forests, they have vast resources to hunt and forage.

These fluffy animals hunt for birds and mammals in solitary or in pairs. Foxes do not work in a pack, which means they are also in competition with each other.

Other things they eat include beetles, worms, fruits, and vegetables. Depending on the season, foxes have a favorite to eat. 

For example, foxes enjoy eating apples, blackberries, and persimmons during autumn.

Raccoons

Scientific Name: Procyon lotor
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore

These black-and-white creatures eat nuts, insects, fish, eggs, seeds, fruits, and snails. However, their favorite meals are usually found in or near the water.

Interestingly, raccoons are not great hunters, which explains their scavenger behavior.

When lucky, these animals can catch smaller mammals or rodents, such as mice and squirrels.

Like dogs, raccoons cannot eat chocolate, onion, garlic, and sweets because these are toxic and poisonous to them.

Humans

Scientific Name: Homo sapiens
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore

Humans are pretty self-explanatory, as we can eat almost anything, thanks to thousands of years of evolution. 

We adapt to the environment we are in and find resources that keep us fed. From hunters, early humans discovered farming and incorporating plants into their diet.

Each region around the world cultivated different plants and methods of eating. This then led to different cultures having unique food traditions from others.

Some humans are predisposed to be allergic or apprehensive to some food for various reasons, including genetics and illness.

In general, as long as it does not upset your stomach, you can eat it. 

Monkeys

Scientific Name: Cercopithecidae
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore

If we ask what food monkeys eat, most of us will answer bananas. It is not wrong, but these mammals also have other foods they enjoy.

Interestingly, this observation started because of varying reasons. In the Philippines, bananas are abundant, and it is an accessible food resource for monkeys to consume.

When Americans took monkeys back to the United States, they also took bananas to feed the latter.

However, monkeys thrive on eating insects and other fruits as well. Some monkeys include eggs, lizards, nuts, and apples in their diet

Yet, their mood for food also depends on the season.

Piranhas

Scientific Name: Pygocentrus nattereri
Type of Animal: Fish
Diet: Omnivore

The first fish on our list, piranhas, have a reputation as savage predators that can devour a person immediately. However, this is false as these toothful fishes are not aggressive towards humans.

Humans are never part of their diet. On the contrary, fisher folks regularly catch piranhas as food.

While many piranhas are strict carnivores, more than a few species prefer eating seeds over meat.

If you ever have or encounter a piranha, never feed it with feeder fish like goldfish. These types of fish can transfer diseases to piranhas, risking their health.

Coyotes

Scientific Name: Canis latrans
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore

Like the other predators we mentioned, coyotes have a diet of animals and plants. Depending on the season, their food choices also change.

Their locations may also influence the types of food available to them. 

For example, coyotes in the Sonoran desert consume rodents, lizards, rabbits, insects, flowers, fruits, and beans, as these are abundant in the area.

Similar to dogs, grapes, and raisins are toxic to coyotes. However, these fruits are still something coyotes will occasionally eat. 

Coyotes have the tendency to eat anything available in their vicinity. They also act as scavengers when there is nothing to hunt.

Still, despite their omnivorous nature, these wild dogs favor meat.

Related: Can Carnivores Diggest Plants?

Black Bears

Scientific Name: Ursus Americanus
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore

Black bears are commonly found in North America, and their diet is also based on their location and season.

These bears mainly forage fruits, berries, seeds, honey, roots, and herbs. For their main source of protein, they hunt for small mammals and fish.

Black bears are not picky and will also eat insects given the opportunity. They may include garbage and dead animals on their diet list too.

Usually, black bears go to the garbage can for leftover human food. It is an easy source of food, especially in trying times when wild resources are low.

Bearded Dragons

Scientific Name: Pogona
Type of Animal: Reptile
Diet: Omnivore

Bearded dragons’ diet is also something uncommon to most people. However, they have a relatively simple diet. A wild bearded dragon has a balanced diet of insects and vegetables.

These reptiles have favorite foods that they cannot ignore. These foods are mealworms and crickets. Even for pet owners, mealworm is a regular meal they provide to their bearded pet dragons.

Mealworms are perfect daily food as they are packed with proteins, amino acids, and vitamins. It can easily compare with that of fish and meat.

Jackals

Scientific Name: Canis Aureus
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore

Jackals thrive in deserts, grasslands, and savannas, which means they have a diverse diet depending on where they are.

In general, these long-ear canines are opportunistic omnivores. They feed on small antelopes, insects, ground-dwelling birds, fruits, grass, and berries. 

Besides hunting and foraging, jackals find another way to find a food source. Like many animals from the list, they are scavengers, checking the leftovers of a more giant predator.

However, since food can be scarce, jackals also check out garbage dumps for any remaining human food. They are not picky and will eat almost anything.

Rats

Scientific Name: Rattus
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore

Rats always have an inadequate representation and are seen as some of the world’s dirtiest animals. However, they act the same as any other animal scavenger and are much cleaner than believed.

What makes them a bit uncomfortable to encounter compared to other scavengers is that some of these rodents live in the sewer.

Whether it is a wild or pet rat, both have the same diet. As long as they eat fruits, vegetables, and meat, they are healthy.

Rats can eat rotten fish, chicken, and red meat for their meat selection. It’s worth mentioning that they do not actively hunt for meat. 

Orangutans

Scientific Name: Pongo
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore

Orangutans are primates found in South East Asia. The bulk of their diet is mainly composed of leaves and fruits from the forest.

There are instances where these orange-tinted primates eat insects and meat. However, orangutans catch small mammals when they want to eat a slice of real meat.

However, meat-eating days are rare occurrences that only occur when food resources are tight.

Their primary food diet consists of fruits, including their favorite, durian. Durian is tasty but strong-smelling fruit that most non-locals cannot tolerate. 

Since they are large-bodied, orangutans try to eat foods high in calories.

Warthogs

Scientific Name: Phacochoerus africanus
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore

The last member on our list of animals that eat both plants and meat is the warthog.

Warthogs are considered cousins of the pigs, and they are also scavengers with an interesting diet.

There are a lot of questions surrounding what warthogs eat, including dung. Well, warthogs consume herbivores’ stool and sometimes theirs.

It is because these dungs are full of nitrogen. The young warthogs eat the stool of the older ones to obtain useful digestive micro-bacteria. 

But overall, warthogs are just like normal omnivores that consume animals and plants.

They do not limit themselves and scavenge every possible food and nutrition source. Warthogs chew on soil or bones they find because the following contain nutrients they lack.

Conclusion

And there you have it. With this, we conclude the article on animals that eat meat and plants, also known as omnivores.

Examples of animals that eat both plants and animals include raccoons, grizzly bears, squirrels, rats, orangutans, and many others. These animals have a combination of various plants, fruits, insects, fish, and other meat-origin food in their diet.

Omnivores are extremely important to our ecosystem as they are essential in keeping the vegetation growth and animal population balanced.

If there were no omnivores on the planet, we would have an animal species overpopulation and plant overgrowth. 

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this article, here’s another similar read: List of Animals That Eat Strawberries.

Related articles