Home Animals 11 Fascinating Animals That  Eat a Lot of  Food

11 Fascinating Animals That  Eat a Lot of  Food

271
0
A sleeping tiger (Panthera tigris)

Have you ever had a friend who eats enormous food portions but never seems to put on any weight? I have, and I must admit, I’m always in awe of their impressive food intake. In fact, my friends and I often compare them to big animals, as they’re able to consume so much without any apparent consequence. 

This got me thinking about the animal kingdom and whether there are other creatures out there that eat such large quantities of food. As it turns out, there are some fascinating creatures that eat a lot, both big and small. Who knew that some tiny animals could consume such a tremendous amount of food? I 

List of Animals That Eat a Lot of Food

Blue Whales

animals that eat a lot

Scientific Name: Balaenoptera musculus
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Carnivore

It’s not surprising that the blue whale, the largest animal ever to exist, has a massive appetite. These majestic underwater giants devour tons of food every day, with the average blue whale consuming a whopping 16 tons of krill in a single 24-hour period. 

In one mouthful, they can ingest around 500,000 calories, which is not exactly ideal for those of us watching our waistlines! However, when you consider that a blue whale weighs around 200 tons, 16 tons of food per day is not as much as it may seem. 

Despite their colossal size, blue whales are actually relatively slim and streamlined. The krill they consume is an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, making it a highly nutritious meal plan.

Hummingbirds

Scientific Name: Trochilidae
Type of Animal: Bird
Diet: Omnivore

Hummingbirds, these tiny, fast-moving creatures that can be found around the world, live on a diet that consists primarily of nectar, which is essentially sugar water with little nutritional value. This type of food would be catastrophic for humans with high-sugar, low-everything-else diets.

However, for hummingbirds, it is essential to their survival. With one of the highest metabolic rates of any living creature, hummingbirds’ wings can flap over 80 times per second, and their hearts need to beat some 20 times per second just to keep up with the demands of flight. 

To survive, they need to consume roughly twice their own body weight in food every day, making nectar their perfect meal. Despite their reliance on nectar, hummingbirds are not picky eaters and will occasionally indulge in insects and other small animals to supplement their diet.

Burmese Pythons

Scientific Name: Python bivittatus
Type of Animal: Reptile
Diet: Carnivore

The Burmese python may not dine as regularly as some of its counterparts, but when it does, it’s an event to behold. These colossal serpents can grow up to 23 feet (7m) long and weigh up to 200 pounds (90 kg), putting them on a par with the world’s biggest snakes, the anacondas. 

Thanks to their sluggish metabolism, these snakes only need to eat once every two weeks. However, when they do have a meal, it’s substantial. These striking pythons have been known to devour goats, deer, and even alligators without batting an eye. They swallow their prey whole.

From bones to teeth and everything in between, these massive snakes can devour animals as much as 50% of their own body weight in one feeding frenzy. The Burmese python may have a slower metabolism, but it definitely makes the most of the meal when the time comes.

Giant Pandas

Animals With the Lowest IQ

Scientific Name: Ailuropoda melanoleuca
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Herbivore

Giant pandas are fascinating creatures, weighing in at 200-300 pounds and sporting distinctive black and white fur. Though not the largest of bears, they are quite massive. What sets them apart from other bears is their highly specialized diet. Incredibly, these gentle giants subsist almost entirely on bamboo, a plant that is not very nutritious and very hard to digest. 

Even consuming up to 15% of their body weight in bamboo during their 12-hour daily eating sessions, they can only digest a paltry 20% of it.  

While they spend the majority of their day sleeping and digesting, this is not by choice, but rather due to their unique evolutionary niche which unfortunately makes them highly dependent on their environment. 

It’s a sad reality that the biggest threat to the 1,500 giant pandas left in the wild is the destruction of the bamboo forests which they need to survive. 

Elephants

elephant

Scientific Name: Loxodonta
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Herbivore

Despite their massive size, elephants cannot be considered picky eaters due to their highly varied diet. From bark to leaves, grasses to twigs, and even the rare fruit if they can find it, elephants feast on a wide range of foliage. 

This comes in handy because their digestive system can only break down about half of what they eat, so quantity becomes the name of the game. In fact, an adult elephant can eat up to a staggering 350 pounds (158 kg) of food per day, and they will even venture up to 12.5 miles (20 km) in search of more food.

However, with the increasing destruction of their natural habitats, these majestic animals are forced to venture out in search of food. Unfortunately, this often leads to conflicts with humans, particularly when the elephants come across fields of crops. 

With their insatiable appetites, it’s not uncommon for them to consume entire fields in one sitting. This results in a vicious cycle of conflict and destruction, which rarely ends well for either the elephants or any other animal that may be caught in the crossfire.

Tigers

Scientific Name: Panthera tigris
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Carnivore

Tigers are classified as hypercarnivores, meaning that their diet is mainly composed of more than 70% meat. Like other big cats, tigers are almost exclusively carnivorous, relying heavily on meat as their primary source of nutrition.

Meat is a highly nutritious food source; however, it takes a considerable amount of energy to obtain. Tigers can weigh up to 660 pounds (300 kg), and most of that weight is muscle. These powerful cats are ambush predators, capable of sudden bursts of incredible strength. Additionally, tigers cover extensive territories, sometimes covering tens of miles by walking or swimming in a single day.

To meet their high-energy demands, tigers need to consume large amounts of nutrient-dense food. An adult tiger can consume up to 100 pounds (45 kg) of meat in one feeding, although they usually go without food for a day or two after consuming such a large meal.

Tigers are opportunistic hunters and will prey on animals of various sizes, including small animals such as hares or monkeys, as well as much larger animals, such as buffalo, crocodiles, and even bears. In rare cases, tigers have been known to attack larger animals like elephants and rhinoceroses.

American Pygmy Shrews

Scientific Name: Sorex hoyi
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Insectivore

While it may be small in size, the American pygmy shrew certainly makes up for it with its appetite. This tiny mammal ranks as the second smallest in the world but has one of the largest appetites for its size. It’s difficult to fathom, but this creature needs to consume three times its body weight every day just to survive. 

To do so, it feeds every 15-30 minutes, meaning that even an hour without food could result in starvation. To obtain such an enormous amount of energy, the pygmy shrew sleeps very little and spends most of its time eating. Interestingly, the shrew’s size actually plays a role in its high metabolism.

Its large surface-area-to-volume ratio results in significant heat loss, requiring the shrew to burn more calories to stay warm. 

Locusts

Scientific Name: Schistocerca gregaria
Type of Animal: Insect
Diet: Herbivore

The dreaded locusts are known to cause nothing but destruction wherever they go. The scale of their devastation is shockingly daunting, considering that a locust needs to consume its own weight in food every day. 

Though it may seem minuscule, this amount compounds as swarms of billions of these insects suddenly come to life, all at once. 

The limitations to their hatching will cause them to unleash their havoc simultaneously, feasting on hundreds of tons of vegetation and putting entire agricultural systems at risk with a reach of over 40 miles. 

It’s no surprise that the locusts are often associated with “plague” since their impact can be catastrophic.

Bar-Tailed Godwits

Bar-Tailed Godwits

Scientific Name: Limosa lapponica
Type of Animal: Bird
Diet: Carnivore

The bar-tailed godwit is a remarkable bird with an impressive migration journey that spans over 6,800 miles (11,000 km) from Alaska to New Zealand. To complete this incredible feat, these birds need to have a great deal of energy and stamina, which means they need to consume an immense amount of food. 

Before migration, bar-tailed godwits consume enough food to nearly double their body weight in fat. It’s a good thing these birds don’t need to worry about sizing up their wardrobe every year! While their diet is relatively normal for much of the year, this preparation is crucial.

Tasmanian Devils

Tasmanian Devils

Scientific Name: Sarcophilus harrisii
Type of Animal: Bird
Diet: Carnivore

The Tasmanian devil is a creature that cannot be ignored when discussing animals that eat a lot. These marsupials have a reputation for being fearless, ready to take on any opponent who dares to challenge them. 

They have incredibly powerful jaws that can crush bones, making it easy for them to eat almost anything that comes their way, from birds and snakes to small kangaroos and carrion. 

Interestingly, Tasmanian devils eat two pounds of food per day on average, which is quite impressive for creatures that weigh around 20 pounds. However, if they are unsure when their next meal will come, they will eat up to 40% of their total body weight in one sitting! 

Black-Footed Cats

Black-Footed Cats

Scientific Name: Felis nigripes
Type of Animal: Mammal
Diet: Carnivore

Don’t be fooled by the small size of the black-footed cat because this feline is a fierce hunter with an insatiable appetite. As the last member on our list of animals that eat a lot, black-footed cats make an astonishing 10 to 14 kills every night or once every 50 minutes. 

But it’s their efficiency as hunters that is truly remarkable. With a hunting success rate of over 60%, they’re about three times more efficient than lions! These tiny cats are always hungry, and they must eat daily to support their high metabolism.

In fact, their unusual metabolic rate makes them almost constantly in need of food. So, even though their prey is small, they need to eat a lot because of their high energy expenditure. 

FAQs

Which animals eat every day?

Most animals have to eat every day to survive, particularly those with high metabolisms that burn calories quickly. Some examples of animals that need to eat every day include herbivores like cows, sheep, and deer, and carnivores like lions, tigers, and wolves.

Which animal eats the fastest?

It’s challenging to determine which animal eats the fastest, as feeding rates can vary depending on factors such as the size of the animal and the type of food being consumed. 

However, some animals are known for their incredibly fast feeding rates. For example, the giant squid has been observed capturing and consuming prey in under a minute. 

The star-nosed mole, which feeds on small invertebrates, can identify and consume its prey in under a quarter of a second. 

Which animals eat their food twice?

Examples of animals that eat their food twice include cows, sheep, goats, deer, rabbits, and some species of rodents, such as guinea pigs and chinchillas. These animals have a specialized stomach called a “rumen,” which allows them to digest plant material through hindgut fermentation.

Why do animals eat a lot?

For one, many animals need to consume a large amount of food to maintain their energy levels and stay active throughout the day. Additionally, some animals eat a lot because they are preparing for a period of hibernation where they will not be able to eat for an extended period. 

Final Words

Animals that eat a lot of food can be found in every ecosystem on Earth. These creatures, often with large appetites, consume a diverse range of foods including plants, other animals, insects, and even rocks! 

From the massive herbivorous elephants that can consume up to 300 pounds of vegetation a day to the predatory great white shark that can eat up to 11 tons of food a year, the animal kingdom is replete with a wide variety of gastronomic champions. 

Of course, all creatures must eat in order to survive, but some animals take it to the extreme by consuming enough food to sustain not only themselves but their entire herd or family. 

Reference:

Author Profile
Jeevan Kodiyan
Zoologist | Wildlife Conservation at Animals Research

An animal enthusiast with an interest in zoology, studying the behavior and activities of animals in the wild habitat. I work on research projects related to species conservation and endangered species protection. I also leverage zoology to become an educator, educating others about the importance of protecting our natural environment and the beauty of animals in their natural habitats.

Previous article5 Animals That Drink a Lot of Water ( All Facts Explained)
Next article9 Animals Without Ears (Includes Images and Facts on their Hearing Abilities)
An animal enthusiast with an interest in zoology, studying the behavior and activities of animals in the wild habitat. I work on research projects related to species conservation and endangered species protection. I also leverage zoology to become an educator, educating others about the importance of protecting our natural environment and the beauty of animals in their natural habitats.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here