What animals eat grass?

What animals eat grass? Gramnivores eat grass, true grass from the pocacea family to be specific. Granivores include horses, cattle, panda, domestic yak, grasshoppers and hippopotamus.


Generally speaking, herbivores are the primary groups of animals that feed mainly on grasses, although other carnivorous vertebrates like dogs and cats have been occasionally observed to do so.

Grass consumption in dogs is suspected to be an effort to get rid of parasites in their intestinal tract that if left untouched, may pose serious threat to their health.

Herbivory is basically one of the three main divisions of animals based on diet, the other two being omnivory (plant and animals eaters) and carnivory (animal eaters). You can read the article below to learn more about herbivory.

Read: What animals are herbivores?

Herbivory, more correctly, refers to all animals that derive sustenance from autotrophs such as plants, algae and photosynthesizing bacteria, and not only from grasses or other low-level vegetation as some of our bio-novice readers may have incorrectly presumed from the earlier paragraph.

Under the herbivore group itself, different animals employ different feeding strategies as their primary means of sustenance. For instance, some animals prefer to feed primarily on the nectar syrup of flowering plants and are thus noted as nectivores, other may opt for seeds, some grasses while others may prefer algae.

There are of course many herbivores that do not adopt only one specific feeding strategy but rather employ several strategies and eat a variety of plants matter.

The variety of choices present in the herbivore group is what is referred to as “herbivore feeding strategies” and some of them are listed below.

  • Nectivores (nectar suckers)
  • Algivores (algae eaters)
  • Frugivores (fruit eaters)
  • Folivores (leaf eaters)
  • Playnivores (pollen eater)
  • Mucivores (sap eaters)
  • Xylophages (wood eaters)
  • Gramnivores (grass eaters)

These different feeding strategies can be further collected and grouped into two broad classes: browsers and grazers. We’ll learn more about grazers in the next section.


Grazers are animals that primarily feed on plants and other low level vegetation, including those that are particularly not grasses.

Gramnivory is a further subdivision under the grazer group that represents all animals that feed primarily on grasses. Or animals that consume more grass and other low-vegetation than non-grass plant materials. So animals that feed mainly on grasses are referred to as gramnivores.

Example of such animals include:

  • horses,
  • cattle,
  • sheep,
  • geese,
  • giant panda,
  • grasshoppers,
  • crustaceans,
  • sea urchins,
  • capybara
  • hippos.
  • American bison
  • geese
  • pipipi snails.
  • red kangaroo

Notice that herbivores also include animals from the insect family, and is not only restricted to the mammalian group although within this group, the grazers are mostly restricted to larger animals.

Examples of Grazers included:

  • Zebra
  • Antelope
  • Dugong
  • Ostrich
  • Wildebeests
  • Red kangaroo
  • Rabbit

All gramnivores and some grazers usually have mouth parts and digestive systems that are built tough and sturdy to be able to rasp grasses and fully break the tough cellulose in them.

Most of them, especially the ruminant animals posses huge wide and flat teeth that enables them to properly chew on grasses and specific stomach bacteria that properly ferments cellulose to release nutrients for absorption into the blood stream.

Ruminant animals employ additional tactics to make digestion more efficient. They regurgitate their food and swallow back into each and every one of their four chambered stomach until it finally gets sent into the intestine for absorption. This helps them absorb the very last nutrient present in their tough grass diet.

Some grazers have a continuously growing teeth system to compensate for their constantly depleting teeth caused by their toughness of grass forage. 


Browsers are set of herbivores that feed mainly on non-grass plant materials. So animals that feed on leaves, twigs, roots, tubers, flowers and soft shoots of high growing plants are called browsers and they differ from grazers that feed primarily on grasses, low level multicellular organisims such as algae or forbs and from gramnivores that strictly feed on grasses.

Browsers also have some of the adaptations of grazers to enable them properly chew and efficiently derive nutrients from their food.

Example of browsers include:

  • Sloths
  • Butterflies
  • Squirrels
  • Koalas
  • Goat
  • Rat
  • Bee
  • Hornet

Animals in between browsing and grazing

These are animals that have a near equal balance between grass and non-grass plant materials diet. In other words, they are effectively browsers and grazers at the same time. Examples of these animals include:

  • Elephants
  • Siberian ibex

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Cite this Article (APA Format)

Bunu. M. (2020, May 29). What animals eat grass?. Retrieved from http://emborawild.com/what-animals-eat-grass/

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