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You have probably noticed that cows and a wolf don’t exactly eat the same food and have the same life styles. Cows eat a large amount of plant matter, and don’t hunt for their food, where as wolfs eat meat and have to constantly hunt for their food.

Cows, koalas, rabbits and kangaroos all eat large amounts of plant matter, and spend the majority of the day eating. These animals are called Herbivores.

As such their digestive system has evolved to suit their dietary needs.

Click here for more information on herbivores.

Wolfs, tigers, lions and dogs have a predominantly meat diet. This makes them Carnivores.

Some carnivores such as lions can go days between meals. Wolves only spend 15 minutes of their day eating and the rest moving around, hunting or playing.

As you would expect their digestive systems are very different from Herbivores.

Click here for more information on Carnivores.

Humans are omnivores.

This means their diet is traditionally a mix of meat and plant matter. Since we require both, our digestive systems  a mix between herbivores and carnivores systems.

Click here for more information on Omnivores.

As you can see from the diagrams above, the digestive systems of each three appears different. Herbivore systems a longer and more complex than Carnivores.

Within Carnivores digestion is quicker and more efficient. The reason for this is simple. Think about the amount of energy in meat compared to plant matter.

Herbivores must eat a lot more plant matter than a carnivore would meat, as meat is more calorie dense.  It also explain why you see cows constantly grazing and chewing food. By constantly chewing they increase the surface area to volume ratio, allowing for more enzyme action.

Quick activity

Match the animal to the correct digestive track digestive

Some things to look at is the:

Size of the cecum

Position of the Cecum

Presence of a Rumen

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