Nutrition in Animals

Nutrition in animals is as important as it is for plants and any other living thing. While plants prepare their own food by the process of photosynthesis, animals cannot prepare their own food, hence they need to depend on plants or other animals for their food.

Animals derive their nutrition either by eating plants directly (herbivores), or indirectly by eating animals which have consumed plants (carnivores).

All organisms require food for their survival and growth.

Food consist of different components, called nutrients, like carbohydrates, fats, minerals, proteins, and vitamins, which are required for the maintenance of the body.

These components are complex and cannot be used directly, so they are broken down into simpler components by the process of digestion.

Why is nutrition important for animals?

Nutrition helps in proper growth and maintenance of the cells. It provides energy to carry out different life processes.

Nutrition in Animals

Nutrition in animals depends upon the feeding habits of the animals.

The process of taking in food is called ingestion.

Different feeding habits of animals are the result of evolution. The specialization of organisms towards specific food sources and of course specific ways of eating is one of the major causes of the evolution form and function.

Animals can be divided into the following groups depending upon their food habits:

Herbivores: Herbivores are animals that depend upon plants and fruits for their nutrition. Cows, goats, sheep, buffaloes, etc. are herbivores.

Carnivores: Carnivores are animals that depend upon other animals for food. Lion, tigers, wolfs are some examples of carnivores.

Omnivores: These include organisms that eat both plants and animals. Humans, bear, dogs, crow are omnivores.

Process of Nutrition in Animals

The process of nutrition in animals involves the following steps:

Ingestion – This is the process of taking in food.

Digestion – This is when larger food particles are broken down into smaller, water-soluble particles.  There are physical or chemical for digesting food.

Absorption – Digested food is absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestinal wall.

Assimilation – Absorbed food is used for energy, growth and repair of the cells of the body.

Egestion – The undigested food is removed out of the body in the feaces.

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If you made it to the end of this article, don’t forget to check out our other post on “ 10 ways to improve milk yield in your cattle” here.