Last updated on October 18th, 2022
We’ve seen many different wildlife species include grass in a major portion of their diet. Some of them even depend solely on grass, which is why we see so many animals grazing on large acres of green pasture throughout the day.
Animals that eat grass:
- Diary Cattle
- Giant Pandas
- Water Buffalo
We’re aware that these animals are commonly known as “Grazing animals.” But in terms of zoology, the wildlife species that primarily eat grass are known as “Graminivores.”
In fact, grass and graminivores have evolved together for centuries.
List of animals that eat grass
It’s a natural tendency for horses to graze the entire day. In short, they simply love grass and can spend hours grazing in green pasture fields.
Besides, the grass is excellent for keeping a horse’s digestive system healthy.
However, you shouldn’t allow your horse to eat too much lush grass in the spring season as it may result in some severe abdominal pain.
This happens whenever horses consume an excess amount of starch and sugar from grass, hay, straw, etc.
So, even though the vivid spring grass may appear irresistible for your horse, try to control or limit the horse’s exposure to spring grass.
Further, you should also take care of and remove any harmful plants from the pasture, such as ragwort, which is poisonous to horses.
Alternatively, you can feed your horse wheat middling which has an adequate amount of crude protein and crude fiber for active horses to remain lean and healthy.
2. Dairy Cattle
Most of us have seen cattle feeding on pasture grass. Dairy cows and beef cattle need high-quality grass to stay healthy.
Grass provides all the essential nutrients to cattle, which makes it more economical for cattle raisers and dairy manufacturers.
For cattle that are unable to graze, it’s very convenient for farmers to cut the grass and place it in the area where the cow is resting to feed on.
Since cows have a different digestive system compared to humans, they’re made to survive on a diet that mostly consists of grass.
Good quality pasture can provide your cow with an entire day’s energy. This energy is required to obtain healthy beef and milk that takes care of the owner’s economic conditions.
In the US, most cattle are given fodder made of some kind of forage, such as grass, silage, or legumes.
3. Giant Pandas
Usually, the major portion of a panda’s diet includes bamboo, which is actually a kind of fast-growing grass species.
Giant pandas exclusively feed on bamboo, which includes bamboo shoots, stems, and leaves.
In fact, about 99% of a panda’s diet includes bamboo plants, and they can eat anywhere between 26 and 84 pounds of this stalky grass each day.
This amount is necessary for pandas to obtain enough nutrients and calories for survival.
Pandas are large animals that grow up to 4-6 feet in length and weigh around 350 pounds. Needless to say, this animal needs a lot of food every day to survive.
Besides, these fascinating black-and-white species are extremely picky about their menu.
Bamboo is one of the world’s fastest-growing plants, and in some regions, it may grow up to 3 feet in a single day. This is a good thing for these giant animals as they need lots of this plant.
However, pandas aren’t able to find enough bamboo plants due to reasons like deforestation, in which bamboo forests are removed to create land for farming or construction.
This makes pandas one of the most vulnerable species, that are largely dependent on wildlife conservation organizations.
Hippos are herbivores and the main diet of wild hippos includes grasses and fruits (ones that have fallen from fruit trees).
Also, the ones living in zoological gardens depend largely on bushes and vegetables.
Did you know that adult hippos can eat as much as 80 pounds of grass and other plants every night? It’s because they weigh up to 8,000 pounds! Sounds overwhelming, right?
The fun fact is, hippos may seem hungry all the time, but they can only eat 1% of their total body weight every day.
However, the good thing is that these animals can store large amounts of grass (almost 2 days’ worth of the plant) in their stomachs.
This is why a hippopotamus can go almost up to 3 weeks without eating. Hippos usually like grazing on large grasslands.
Although they spend a lot of time in the water, they don’t feed on aquatic plants. In fact, they don’t eat during their time in the water.
These river horses generally prefer short grass with small reeds and green shoots.
They avoid coarse grasses as these are difficult to digest. Furthermore, hippos don’t like rooting in the dirt to feed on buried fruits or roots.
The nocturnal hippos come out of the water at dusk and go to the grazing grounds.
You may have seen hippos in the river swimming with one another but while grazing, they usually like to do it as a solo activity.
Rather than chewing, these animals generally pull and tear grass up using their lips and teeth before swallowing.
You’ll be surprised to know that the paths taken by the hippos after leaving the water and traveling to the grasslands are quite long and winding, far away (about 2 miles) from their water habitats.
This means that hippos can tread along these paths for around 5-6 hours each night!
Capybaras are semi-aquatic species living in densely forested areas near water bodies such as lakes, swamps, rivers, ponds, and marshes.
These animals are basically the largest living rodents in the world. Capybaras are native to South America and are found in dense forests and savannas.
The close relatives of a capybara include rock cavies and guinea pigs.
Capybaras are an extremely social species, and they’re usually found in groups of their kind.
Besides, they live in relatively smaller groups of 10-20 individuals, but are sometimes found in large groups of 100!
Capybaras are primarily hunted for their fur and meat as well as their thick and fatty skin since it produces a natural and rich source of grease.
Capybaras are herbivores, and they prefer grazing primarily on grasses as well as aquatic plants.
They’re great swimmers and can even hold their breath underwater for as much as 5 minutes at a time.
These species also feed on tree bark and fruits. The fun fact is, capybaras won’t eat any plant that they come across. They’re quite selective about their diet.
For instance, this large rodent can eat the leaves of one plant species and disregard the one planted next to it.
They’ll consume a lot of plants during the dry season since only a few plant species are available at that time.
However, during the wet season, capybaras will primarily eat grass since this is more abundant and easily available at these times.
One of the most easily recognizable animals on the planet due to their black and white stripes.
Zebras are terrestrial herbivores and they primarily feed on grasses, as well as leaves, twigs, and bushes.
These grass eaters diet also includes fallen fruits, herbs, shrubs, roots, bark, green shoots, and cultivated crops.
They’ll use their strong front teeth to chop off the tips of the grass so that it’s easily consumable.
These striped animals have a strong and adaptable digestive system, which is why they can survive on a low-nutrition diet.
You’ll mostly find zebras inhabiting woodlands, grasslands, mountains, scrublands, savannas, and coastal hills.
Zebras spend around 60-80% of their day eating, and they need to consume at least 3-4 liters of water daily, however, they can go without water for 4-5 days.
Zebras can eat a lot of dry and coarse grass because their digestive system is built to break down these plant materials. This is why they mostly consume fibrous food items.
Zebras migrate with other animals whenever there’s a seasonal change in rain and how the grass grows.
Geese feed on all species of grasses and weeds, including dandelions, clover, and plantain.
They also feed on different herbs, including parsley, basil, thyme, and dill.
Apart from that, a goose’s diet may include the leaves of various types of grass and grains, roots, stems, shoots, seeds, bulbs, and berries.
Some goose species also feed on insects.
Besides, the Canada Geese species can submerge their heads underwater to graze on different aquatic plants.
If you happen to run out of grass to feed your geese, you can also feed these birds vegetable peels, cracked corn, birdseed, barley, and chopped-up grapes (diced up into small pieces).
8. Domestic Water Buffalo
Water buffaloes are herbivores, and they primarily feed on grasses, leaves, aquatic plants, herbs, reeds, and other vegetation.
Owners of domestic water buffaloes must feed them additional vegetation to increase milk production.
The enclosures they live in (which are usually large water bodies) consist of quite a few aquatic plants for them to feed on.
Domestic water buffaloes are good as farm animals, especially because they’ve undergone years of domestication.
There are two kinds of buffaloes – domestic water buffalo and wild water buffalo. However, domestic water buffaloes are commonly known as “water buffaloes.”
Water buffaloes are large mammals that have a similar appearance to cows. They have thick horns and stout bodies and are found in various colors, including black, slate gray, and white.
What animals eat grass?
The animals that commonly feed on grass are horses, cattle, pandas, hippos, capybaras, zebras, geese, water buffalos, beavers, camels, koalas, chipmunks, elephants, rabbits, and voles.