Nutrition in animals | Human digestive system

Every living organism needs energy for performing various metabolic activities. Nutrition in plants is obtained by the process of photosynthesis. Nutrition in animals is obtained by eating plants or other animals. So, animal nutrition requires the intake of food and its utilization. The intake of food depends on the types of animals.


Animals can be classified on the basis of their eating habits as follows:

  • Herbivorous animals.
  • Carnivorous animals.
  • Omnivorous animals.
  • Parasites
  • Scavengers

Classification of animals

Food components consumed by the animals are complex substances. They cannot be utilized in the same way. So they need to be broken down into smaller particles. The process of breaking down of food components into smaller particles is known as digestion.


Human beings take food through their mouth and then it passes through the human alimentary canal where food is being churned and mixed with certain enzymes for the proper breakdown. Nutrients are then absorbed and the remaining waste is ejected out.

Digestion process

The human alimentary canal or digestive tract can be divided into 6 parts moving down. First, the buccal cavity is present in the mouth area, where food is chewed with the help of teeth. Tongue mixes the saliva with food for the breakdown of food. Then it passes through the food pipe where the food is pushed down into the stomach by the movement of food pipe. When it reaches the stomach it is mixed with the gastric juice secreted by the wall of stomach for the further breakdown of food. At this stage food is transformed to a semi-solid form. It is then moved to the small intestine. Here food nutrients are absorbed by the villi, outgrowths of the small intestine and then transferred to the entire body through blood vessels. The remaining waste product is then transferred to the large intestine where excess water and salt is absorbed from the waste product. In the end, the final waste is ejected out through the anus. The above parts and process constitute the human digestive system.

Digestive tract

Buccal cavity



small intestine

Large intestine


nutrition in grass eating animals


Digestion in amoeba

Nutrition of animals basically deals with the intake of food and its utilization. In this article, we understood about the different types of animals. How they intake food? How they utilize the nutrients of food? This is what explains the animal nutrition. Now Get model solutions for chapter Nutrition in Animals in depth and step-by-step procedure to all questions in an NCERT textbooks only at BYJU’S.

Practise This Question

Consider the following characteristics of a herbivore digestive systems and habits.

1. Cows have 4 chambered stomachs and chew cud.

2. Rabbits eat their droppings called cecotropes.

3. Pandas have short digestive system and a small number of bacteria in the gut.

4. Elephants have a large cecum (the part connecting the two intestines) containing fermenting bacteria.

Which of the above characteristics helps food to remain longer in the digestive tract?