Some animals have the ability to consume a variety of feed sources, while others don't.
Animals that eat different types of foods are known as polyphagous, the ability is referred to as polyphagy. Certain animals are restricted often by their anatomical and physiological make up that are able to consume one particular feed source – these animals are known as monophagous, the ability is referred to as monophagy. Oligophagous animals feed one particular type of food usually within a taxonomic group.
Animals can be classified according to the type of feed they consume. The following list shows the types of sources of nutrition for each classification.
What source of food an animal chooses, it’s feeding behaviour and the biomechanical method which it engages to feed, have developed over extremely long evolutionary periods. This has enabled animals to adapt to their environment and survive. Many species of animals are known to have become extinct because their feed supply changed dramatically and they were either not able to adapt or there were no alternative options.
Herbivores and Omnivores
Animals eating lots of plant materials have evolved mechanisms for digesting large amounts of fibrous material. This includes rumen stomachs.
Ruminants have a much larger stomach than non-ruminants. An example of a ruminant is a cow and of a non -ruminant is a pig. The ruminant stomach is divided into four compartments and feed travels slowly through them so that a tough feed can be thoroughly digested. By contrast, the non-ruminant has a single (mono-gastric) or simple stomach. Examples of monogastric animals are dogs, pigs, humans, horses etc. Monogastric animals can include carnivores, herbivores and omnivores.
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