Common Animals That Eat Grass: Great Grazing Facts For Kids

Gurpuneet Kaur
Mar 07, 2023 By Gurpuneet Kaur
Originally Published on Oct 24, 2021
Edited by Lara Simpson
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Group of purebred horses eating.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.7 Min

Would you find it boring to eat a repetitive diet every day?

Imagine if you are asked to eat grass three times a day for the rest of your life! Alas! It is even scarier than our worst nightmares.

As you visit a restaurant or cafe, you go through the menu to decide what sounds best for your taste. You cannot eat repetitive food every day. But there are different animals, primarily grass-eaters, who feed mainly on grasses, pasture, or hay every day. Such grass-eating animals are called herbivores, and more specifically called graminivores.

Herbivores are classified as grazers and browsers. While grazers graze and feed mainly on grasses, browsers browse various plants to eat leaves and shrubs.

The majority of animals that eat grass, pasture, and hay are hoofed animals, including horses, cows, sheep, goats, bison, deer, buffalo, zebras, elk, African wildebeest, hippopotamus, and donkeys. Other animals that nibble on grasses include rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, gorillas, pandas, iguanas, koalas, and hamsters.

The food chain contains several levels, from which animals are classified as producers, primary consumers, secondary consumers, and tertiary consumers. The food chain starts with the producers, such as plants and other vegetation, and ends with the scavengers.

The herbivores or plant-eaters, including graminivores and frugivores, and occupy the second level. In contrast, carnivores or meat-eaters and omnivores occupy the third trophic level in a food chain. However, it is important to remember that not all herbivores, or plant-eaters, are grass-eaters.

Every living thing relies on grazing and grass-eating animals such as tiny insects like grasshoppers to huge mammals like elephants for survival. Grazers are grass-eating animals but do not only eat grass; instead, the grass is a vital part of their diet.

Instead, these wildlife creatures have a diet primarily based on eating grass, hay, pasture, and little else. Thus, herbivores and graminivores are closely related.

Chickens and turkeys are just two examples of birds that eat grass. Likewise, a carp is also considered a grass-eating fish as it also feeds on aquatic grasses. Since cellulose found in the grass is difficult to break down, graminivores and other herbivores have well-adapted digestive systems to digest large amounts of cellulose.

If you enjoyed this article, why not also read about animals that eat both plants and animals and animals that live in trees here on Kidadl?

What do you call animals that eat grass?

Do you know what to type of animal eats grass? If you answered, herbivores, you would be correct! An animal feeding primarily on plants or having a plant-based diet is known as an herbivore.

Did you know that there is yet another term that refers explicitly to animals that only eat grass? The answer is a graminivore!

A graminivore is an animal that feeds primarily on grasses. It is usually referred to as a grazer. Graminivores do not only feed on grass, pasture, hay, or dry grass; they often feed on various plant matter like green leaves, twigs, and flowers.

Some examples of graminivores include horses, cows and cattle, sheep, goats, bison, deer, buffalo, zebras, elk, African wildebeest, capybara, geese, turkeys, chickens, grasshoppers, giant pandas, hippopotamuses, rabbits, and donkeys. These animals primarily feed on grass yet also have a varying diet.

For example, a zebra feeds on the grass while is often found browsing on leaves and stems. Similarly, more than 50% of a cow and a cattle diet comprises grass, while it rarely feeds on a high grain diet like leaves and stems of corns, wheat, oats, and corn kernels.

A sheep eats and graze grass, hay, and pasture.

Likewise, a goat is a natural grazer found eating grass, weeds, and green branches. Often a goat is also classified as a browser.

A deer is yet another species that feed on grasses, sedges, leaves, and shoots of woody green plants. Graminivores or razers are closely related to each other.

What small animals eat grass?

Small animals like insects to large mammals like elephants are among the dominant grass-eaters. Many of the small animals that eat grass vary from insects like grasshoppers to mammals, including rabbits. Several animals, like omnivores and herbivores, eat grass, but not all animals are primarily grass-eats.

A grasshopper is a herbivore that mainly feeds on grass and eats leaves, flowers, and seeds. Other grass eaters include the Aye aye, beaver, badger, bandicoot, capybara, chinchilla, chipmunk, Cotton-top Tamarin, and Cuscus.

More examples of animals found to feed on grass include the Dormouse, Emperor Tamarin, Flying Squirrel, Guinea Pig, Gerbil, Geoffroy's Cat, Gopher, Gray Mouse, lemur, hamster, Indian Palm Squirrel, Porcupine, and Water Vole. No, they are all not grazers or grass-feeders, but at some time or the other, feed on grass.

While a capybara is a primary grazer mainly eating grass, a dormouse primary eats berries, nuts, and fruits but are often found feeding upon the grass. Different species have varying diets, yet the grass is a vital component of several small and big wildlife creatures.

Cow eating grass.

What farm animals eat grass?

A farm with enough pasture and grass attracts several different farm animals. Many farm animals consume grass, but not all are graminivores.

While herbivores have grass as their vital and primary go-to food, it does mean that they cannot survive without grass. Farm animals that eat grass are animals such as sheep, cows, cattle, and birds like chickens and turkeys. Although deer and goats are also primary farm animals, found eating grasses, but are not grazers and are instead considered browsers.

Cows love to eat pasture and grass, while a baby cow, known as a calf, also drinks milk. Unfortunately, the recent scarcity of large pasture and grassland has made it necessary for cows to feed on grain-based foods such as barley. Likewise, a sheep is an avid grass-eater that eats orchard grass.

Also, rabbits too survive on timothy-grass, oat, and orchard grasses. Farms animals are also prone to over-grazing as they often overeat grass. Overeating grasses can have adverse effects as grasses are found to have cellulose or sugar.

Why do some animals eat only grass and leaves?

Can you answer why do you like to eat something over the other? Maybe you may reply to the question that it tastes better than the other. Similarly, it is the choice of the animal to consume meat or grasses.

Animals feeding upon plant-based food are called herbivores. The choice of good food, habitat, and others depends on the adaptability of an individual animal.

Many animals are well-adapted to feed on meat, while others graze grasses and plants. Also, there are animals adapted to consume both meat and grasses. Although animals are not justified to feed upon their choice of food, they are born with digestive systems that help them digest whatever they wish.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for animals that eat grass, then why not take a look at animals with big eyes or animals with horns?

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Written by Gurpuneet Kaur

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Gurpuneet Kaur picture

Gurpuneet KaurBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

As a skilled content writer, Gurpuneet has written and managed engaging content for multiple websites and companies. Driven by a passion for helping young people achieve their full potential, she brings a unique perspective to her work. She is currently pursuing a degree in Economics from Sri Guru Gobind Singh College Of Commerce. With extensive experience as a tutor, Gurpuneet has made a significant impact by providing guidance and academic support to students. Her dedication extends beyond tutoring as she has volunteered with Action India, where she offered medical assistance and educational aid to underprivileged communities. Additionally, Gurpuneet has contributed to the creation of student study guides for various educational agencies.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

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Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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