Life's Little Mysteries

What Is an Omnivore?

omnivore, meat, plants
Omnivores eat just about everything. (Image credit: Thanksgiving dinner photo via <a href=''>Shutterstock</a>)

Omnivores eat whatever they can get their paws, fins, or sticky fingers on.

Pigs, raccoons, and other omnivores are opportunists and will munch on a meal of meat or plants. Mockingbirds vary their diet from berries to insects.

Unlike herbivore stomachs, omnivores aren’t as well suited for digesting all kinds of plants. However, their stomachs are usually more complicated than a carnivore’s.

Paleontologists often look at dinosaur teeth to determine what the creatures preferred to eat. If the dentures aren’t distinctly herbivorous molars or carnivorous canines, that suggests the dinosaur was an omnivore.

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Corey Binns lives in Northern California and writes about science, health, parenting, and social change. In addition to writing for Live Science, she's contributed to publications including Popular Science,, Scholastic, and the Stanford Social Innovation Review as well as others. She's also produced stories for NPR’s Science Friday and Sundance Channel. She studied biology at Brown University and earned a Master's degree in science journalism from NYU. The Association of Health Care Journalists named her a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health Journalism Fellow in 2009. She has chased tornadoes and lived to tell the tale.