What are animals called that eat both plants and animals?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “What are animals called that eat both plants and animals?” and provide information on why omnivores eat both plants and animals, whether humans are omnivores, how to classify omnivores as well as what omnivores eat.

What are animals called that eat both plants and animals?

Animals that eat both plants and animals are called omnivores. Omnivores eat both meat and plant-based matter. The majority of omnivorous animals are opportunistic. Omnivorous animals have a wide and varied diet.

Omnivores have sharp teeth which can help them to eat both plant and animal matter. Some omnivores have canines wherein others have molars to break down food.

Some examples of omnivores are chickens, insects, cranes, bears, birds, monkeys, ostriches, reptiles, ants, frogs, humans, turtles, etc.

Why do omnivores eat both animals and plants?

Omnivores have adapted to food scarcity over time. For instance, if there are no plants to feed on, omnivores can resort to eating animals and vice versa. 

Unlike carnivores or herbivores, omnivores would eat almost anything. As a result, they can eat throughout the season without fearing food shortages.

This can even increase their survival rate. Omnivores can adapt to any kind of environment as they can eat anything. The bodies of omnivores also help in this adaptation. 

Are humans omnivores?

Humans are omnivores, though many choose to actively follow a plant-based diet by becoming vegans. 

On the other hand, some individuals choose to consume dairy products along with plant products. Eggetarian consume eggs and plant-based foods but avoid consuming meat or seafood.

As humans eat berries, seeds, leaves, flowers, and meat of different animals (chicken, goat, fish, crabs, pigs, etc), humans are called omnivores.

How are omnivores classified?

Omnivores are further classified as small, medium, and large. Large omnivores are chimpanzees, humans, and bears. All three animals pursue prey and kill them for the purpose of eating.

Medium omnivores are the second category. Examples of medium omnivores are pigs, raccoons, and rats. These animals are called medium omnivores because they mostly scavenge rather than hunt for prey.

Small omnivores include small insects like flies, cockroaches, and wasps. These insects consume the wastes of other animals which makes them scavengers too.

What do omnivores eat?

Omnivores eat anything that comes their way. The diet of some omnivores is given below:

  • The brown bear is one of the biggest omnivores. It eats fresh leaves, berries, shoots, and fruits. It also loves to eat rodents and fish. 

They can eat the meat of dead animals as well. They try to consume any food that comes their way to prepare for hibernation in winter.

  • The red fox found in North America is an omnivore too. They eat rabbits, insects, rodents, and birds. They love eating berries and other fruits. In case of food scarcity, they can scavenge for meat.
  • Monkeys have a wide range of foods ranging from fruits, nuts, and seeds to eggs, insects, or reptiles. Certain pregnant and juvenile monkeys can indulge in cannibalism too.

There are many species of monkeys and not all monkeys primarily eat both plants and meat. 

Some monkeys are frugivores (eat fruits or fruit-like products of plants), carnivores, or omnivores. Others can be a combination of two or three of these categories.

Monkeys in cities can stick to city-based foods making them unhealthier than their wild counterparts. Many monkeys even steal foods from humans and might consume a lot of sugary foods.

  • Rats can eat a combination of grains, seeds, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. These are some healthy foods for rats. They can also go for small insects or animals. Rats can also sneak into nests and steal eggs.

Rats are the best scavengers. They gather around garbage bins and consume leftover human foods. Rats are particularly fond of foods high in sugar and fat like chocolates. It can eat pet foods as well.

  • Pigs can eat corn, barley, soy, and wheat on farms. However, they eat almost anything. Wild pigs are foragers and can eat roots, bulbs, grasses, leaves, and grains. 

They can also eat insects, worms, larvae, and rodents. Smaller animals like young deer and rabbits can be eaten too. Occasionally, they feed on lizards, frogs, and snakes.

  • Cockroaches eat anything which has to help them adapt to all kinds of environments. They are fond of feeding on grease, sweet foods, starch, and meat. Some cockroaches even feed on cardboard boxes, feces, glue, hair, and toothpaste.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “What are animals that eat both plants and animals called?” and provided information on why omnivores eat both plants and animals, whether humans are omnivores, how to classify omnivores as well as what omnivores eat.





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