Animals found around the world have varying diets, which depend on whether they prey on other animals, rely on vegetation and plant life, or a mix of the two. There are several species of animals that graze, feeding on grass and shrubbery. Multiple grazing animals are popular livestock creatures, while some are found only in the wild.
10 Animals That Graze
These ten animals are some of the most common grazing animals found in the United States and other countries around the world.
- Scientific name: Bos taurus
- Diet: grass, salt licks, shrubbery, grain
Cattle are domesticated livestock animals that are well-known for their grazing habits. These animals are raised for meat, dairy, and hide, and can be found across North America.
Cattle are also raised in other countries, and serve an important function in the food chain. Depending on what cattle are being raised for, they may be put on a diet that consists of mostly grain.
- Scientific name: Equus caballus
- Diet: grass, carrots, grain
Similarly to cattle, horses are domesticated animals known for grazing. These animals can bite closer to the ground because their teeth face the front. They can even bite closer to the ground than cattle and other domesticated farm animals. Horses enjoy feeding on sweet grass and tend to avoid flowers.
- Scientific name: Ovis aries
- Diet: grass, leaves
Sheep have long been kept for their wool, as well as meat, and can be beneficial for keeping grass short. Middle-aged sheep are better at grazing, as these animals do not develop a full set of teeth until they are a few years old.
As old sheep, they will lose these teeth, and won’t be able to graze as easily. These animals can get hoof rot if in wet conditions, but can handle sloping land better than cattle and horses.
- Scientific name: Capra aegagrus hircus
- Diet: grass, leaves, shrubbery, grass seeds
Goats are hardy grazing animals that can handle rocky terrain, steep hills, and wet conditions. These animals can get root rot but are less likely to suffer from it than sheep.
Goats are selective eaters, but great for keeping grass short. Their lips are flexible, allowing them to feed on grass seeds as well. Even though these animals are effective for grazing, they are prone to escaping from fences and enclosures if not secured properly.
- Scientific name: Equus ferus caballus
- Diet: grass, grain, shrubbery
Ponies are similar to horses in their grazing abilities, but these animals are a bit smaller. Forest ponies are the hardiest of pony breeds, and can handle a range of weather conditions.
Unlike many types of domestic horses, wild ponies and forest ponies do not need to find shelter in stables. Ponies are able to graze in rough grasslands. Even though horses and ponies look like different animals, they are actually the same species.
- Scientific name: Bison bison
- Diet: grass, foliage, various plants
The American bison is native to North America, and is a common grazing animal found across the continent. These animals used to have a larger population, but due to hunting this number has dropped. Bison can be found living in protected regions of the western United States.
These animals, also called buffalo, feed on grass, various types of plants, and foliage. Bison have been used for meat and their pelts since the 18th and 19th century, and are still used as livestock animals today. While the American bison is native to North America, there is a European bison native to Europe.
- Scientific name: Equus asinus × Equus caballus
- Diet: grass, shrubs, hay
Mules are hybrid animals, the product of horses and donkeys breeding, and have become well known grazing animals. The father must be a donkey with the mother must be a horse in order to get a mule.
These animals are often used as pack animals around the world because of how hardy they are. A mule will be about the size of a horse, but their head and neck will look like that of a donkey. These animals graze on grass, as well as eat hay and shrubbery, but do not need as much food as horses do.
- Scientific name: Equus asinus
- Diet: grass, hay, shrubbery, foliage
Donkeys are in the same family as horses, and are domesticated livestock animals that can be found in various countries. Just like horses and other hoofed animals, donkeys feed on a range of vegetation.
They will feed on grass, but can also be fed hay and grain. These animals were domesticated thousands of years ago. There are different terms for male and female donkeys. Males are called jacks, while females are called jennets.
- Scientific name: Equus zebra, E. quagga, E. grevyi
- Diet: grass, bark, leaves, shrubbery
There are three species of zebras, all of which are only found in Africa. There are only a few differences between these animals, but they have similar appearances and diets.
Zebras are part of the horse family, but can not be domesticated the way horses and ponies can. These large animals are known for grazing across grasslands, and will migrate to find proper vegetation. The three zebra species are the plains zebra, mountain zebra, and Grevy’s zebra.
10. White Tail Deer
- Scientific name: Odocoileus virginianus
- Diet: grass, corn, twigs, nuts
White tail deer are a common hoofed animal found across North America. These animals are also native to South and Central America. Deer will graze for grass, leaves, and other vegetation in the spring and summer when this kind of food is plentiful.
In the colder months, their diets will mostly consist of corn, twigs, nuts, and plant buds. These animals will mostly be spotted eating in the early morning or evening time.
There are plenty of grazing animals found around the world, but many of these top ten can be commonly spotted across North America. Some of these animals are kept as livestock, while others cannot be domesticated.