Animals That Only Eat Plants & What They Are Called

Animals that only eat plants and what they are called

Animals that only eat plants and what are they called?

There are many animals that only eat plants.  This post is going to look at animals that eat plants only and what animals they are called.

Many people are under the assumption that meat must be consumed in order to survive and get enough protein for life.  But as we will see from plenty of animal examples, it is very much possible to live and have plenty of energy, eating only plants.

What Are Animals that Only Eat Plants Called?

Animals that only eat plants are called Herbivores.  This is in contrast to Carnivores, which only eat meat.  If an animal eats both plants and meat, then it is called an Omnivore.

Herbivore Animals that Only Eat Plants & What they are Called [Herbivores, Folivores & Graminivores]

Video – Herbivore Animals & What they are Called

What Are Some Animals that Only Eat Plants?

What are 10 examples of Herbivores?  Let’s take a look at some herbivores that only eat plants.


Horse is an animal that only eat plants

The horse is an animal that only eat plants

Cows have a diet of mostly eating all grass.  They might also graze and eat some leaves, but the majority of a cow’s natural diet will be grass.

This is not always true for dairy and farm cows.  The cows will still eat grass, in the form of hay.  Over 50% of their diet still might consist of grass, but a lot of times the rest of the diet is filled with grain and left-over plant remains such as citrus pulp or canola meal.

That’s why in more recent times you will see some dairy and beef advertised as being grass-fed.  This means that the cow was allowed to eat a more natural diet of almost all grass.

Herbivores that only eat grass such as cows and cattle, are called graminivores.


Pandas live almost entirely on eating bamboo.  They eat the leaves, shoots and stems of the bamboo and they can eat anywhere from 25 to 85 pounds of bamboo per day!

Actually, pandas help to spread the bamboo plant by also spreading the bamboo seeds through their natural process.

A very small percentage of their diet, less than 1% will sometimes include other plants than bamboo and small rodents.


Elephant animal that only eats plants

The elephant is an animal that only eats plants

The beloved elephant.  The elephant conjures up images of an elephant at a circus eating hay and bananas.  And that’s what elephants eat, plus more.

Elephants eat grass, fruit, roots, and bark.  An elephant is a very large animal and consumes a lot of food a day.  An elephant can eat up to 300 pounds of food per day!

The common fruits and vegetables eaten by an elephant are bananas, apples, and carrots and they can even eat a ton of other fruits and veggies such as pears, pineapples, kale and more.

In the wild, elephants will also eat bamboo, just like pandas, and also rice, sugar cane, corn and leaves.

The elephant is a quite a large and powerful animal for one that only eats fruits, vegetables and plants!


Another of the animals that only eat plants is the deer.  Deer eat plenty of leaves, twigs, nuts, fruits, grass, shrubs and weeds.

See more at What do deer eat?


How could it get so strong eating plants? It does, the gorilla is extremely strong and another animal that only eats plants and is predominantly vegetarian or plant-based.

Gorillas are a class of herbivore known as folivores.  The exact diet is different depending on the species and location of the gorilla, but most feed largely and plant leaves, stems and roots.  They also feed on fruits and in one region, a type of gorilla eats over 50% of their diet in fruit.

A very small percentage. less than 2-3%, of some species of gorillas’ diets are ants, termites and snails.

The gorilla is classified as a folivore, ones that eat mostly leaves.


Horses eat mostly grass or hay.  But they can also eat fruits and vegetables as well as grains.

Horses are extremely strong and active animals and get plenty of nutrition from eating mostly grass.

What do Horses eat?


In the wild, giraffes eat mostly leaves and twigs or trees.  Their long necks allow them to get up high into trees and eat the leaves.


Beavers are animals that only eat plants.  Beavers eat bark, twigs and stems.  They will also eat leaves, grass and roots.


Camels eat primarily grass, twigs and leaves of plants.  Camels can eat a wide variety of plants and have a tough mouth that can even handle thorns.


Bison eat primarily grass, weeds and leafy plants.  They eat about 30 pounds of grass a day.


The butterfly eats mostly nectar from flowers.  It can also eat liquid from rotting fruit as well.

Some More Herbivore Examples

  • Antelope
  • Buffalo
  • Donkey
  • Goat
  • Guinea Pig
  • Rabbit
  • Hippo
  • Kangaroo
  • Manatee
  • Rhino
  • Snails
  • Squirrel
  • Yak
  • Zebra

What Animals are Classified as Herbivores?

Animals that eat only plants, are almost only plants, are classified as herbivores.

Do Herbivores Drink Milk?

Only in infancy.  Herbivores usually drink milk as infants before their digestive track can handle forages.

Which Organisms Eat Only Plants?

Organisms which eat only plants are called Herbivores.  See the list of herbivores above.

Final Thoughts on Animals that Only Eat Plants

We have learned that animals that eat only plants are called herbivores.  We almost discovered that there are a lot of animals that eat only plants as well.  Some of these are actually very big and strong animals, such as gorillas, elephants and bison.

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