What animals are adapted for digesting grains?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 26, 2010 at 5:45 PM

It has been well established that humans and cows do not flourish when ingesting grains has their main source of nutrition. What kinds of animals are adapted to eating grains, and thrive on it?


on March 26, 2010
at 07:38 PM

are you referring exclusively to the grain seed?

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3 Answers


on March 26, 2010
at 10:56 PM

PortlandAllan is partly correct in saying "birds" But not all birds are adapted to eating grass seeds (i.e., grains). Most of the grain-adapted species include chickens (and their ancestor the jungle fowl), the Columbids (pigeons and doves), sparrows and finches, and likely some others. But many birds are not specifically adapted to eating grains, such as penguins, owls and other raptors, ostriches and emus (including the kiwi), hummingbirds, etc.

There are probably a number of mammals that can tolerate some grain consumption, like certain rodents, including field mice, black rats (which in the forests of Israel eat only pine seeds), gerbils, etc.

Maybe some insects or other invertebrates are also adapted to eat grain, but I can't think of any off the top of my head.


on March 26, 2010
at 07:14 PM


What, an answer needs 15 characters?



on March 26, 2010
at 08:38 PM

Mice too? It would need to be something small enough for it to be worth scampering around nibbling at the husks of individual kernels of grain...

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