An omnivore is an animal that eats both plant and meat-based food.

The Basics

Omnivores are some of the most successful animals in existence. Because they have a wide-ranging diet, they can find food in most environments.

Humans are perhaps the best example of this. One of the main reasons for human dominance in the natural world (aside from being able to use tools) is that we can eat both meat and plant-based foods. As a result, animals that rely on meat (carnivores) or just plants (herbivores) usually face an increased risk of starvation.

Omnivores are spread across nearly every continent and a range of different species. Most omnivores are mammals – animals that (typically) produce live offspring, are warm-blooded, and raise their babies by producing milk. However, there are certain reptiles, birds, and fish that we also class as omnivorous.

How do we tell the difference between animals?


Compared to carnivores and omnivores, herbivores have much flatter and less sharp teeth, including broad, spade-shaped incisors and short, blunted canines. Some herbivores have no canine teeth at all.

Big molar teeth are used to grind down plant materials for easier digestion. Herbivores use enzymes created while chewing their food to digest tough plant matter. Enzymes are chemicals used by animals and humans in their bodily processes.

Cows have a strong sense of smell. They can smell things up to 6 miles away!


Carnivores are famous for having enlarged and incredibly sharp canines. These are designed to tear apart meat. In addition, carnivore molars and incisors are far more jagged and pointed than those found in herbivores.

In addition, their molars have jagged edges, and their incisors have short pointed ridges that help to grasp and shred flesh. Finally, the nails of carnivores are often long and sharp. We call these claws.

Lions have some of the most prominent canine teeth of any predator.


Omnivores have teeth similar to both herbivores and carnivores. They have grinding molars for chewing and sharp canines and incisors for eating meat.

Omnivores share more similarities with carnivores in their teeth; however, unlike carnivores, they chew their food before swallowing it.

Humans use their teeth to chew and tear food, breaking it down before swallowing.

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