Animals that Chew Cud – All You Should Know


If you can remember, during your childhood life, you must have spotted a cow chewing cud and wondered – not knowing these were animals that chew cud. And this cow chewing process is called rumination

Now, probably, you are wondering what cud is, and that’s what I’m going to discuss in a few. Just make sure to keep reading to know the finer details of what cud is and what animals chew cud. 

Animals that Chew Cud – What is Cud? 

Chewing cud is when an animal regurgitates from the rumen to the mouth. These boluses or partially digested food is what is called cud. In other words, these animals do this for further mastication. 

When a ruminant (animals that chew cud) take food, the food they consume goes directly to the rumen (the first part of the stomach). Here, it mixes with specific digestive fluids and microorganisms, which then triggers digestion. 

When these animals take a rest, they bring back the food to further masticate it before swallowing it again. And that is what rumination is – as simple as that. 

There are a ton of animals that chew cud. These animals include

  • giraffes
  • cows
  • chevrotains
  • goats
  • camels
  • bison
  • antelopes
  • sheep
  • moose
  • elk

camel chew cud

More on Cud Itself

Cud is the food that returns from the rumen back to the mouth for further mastication. It’s bolus that is brought back to the mouth for cheering a second time. Animals that chew cud are known as ruminants. Like we have said, cattle, goats, and sheep are just examples of animals that chew cud. 

Usually, when ruminants feed, a portion of the food they eat is stored in the rumen. Later the animal will bring back the food to the mouth to chew it a second time, especially when the animal is resting. 

You may be wondering why the animal has to chew the food a second time. But the simple reason is that this act of chewing cud helps the animals like cows or buffaloes to get the most out of nutrients in the food. 

Animals such as goats and Llamas chew cud almost all day, and this is why sometimes they have dental issues or complications. Most of these animals that chew cud will lose teeth quite often. And when that happens, these animals that chew cud find it hard to chew regularly. 

But you should know whether or not these animals will have teeth or not; they will still chew the cud. Finally, ruminants have four stomach chambers, the first one called the rumen, which facilitates the rumination – chewing of the cud. 

Cud Chewing Process

I have discussed this a couple of times within this post. But this time and in this section, let me make it clear so that you can know what happens. 

Let me start by mentioning that the alimentary canal of ruminants such as goats, sheep, camels, among others, have no enzymes that are responsible for breaking down cellulose. 

Because of this, ruminants have a relationship with microbes, which live in the reticulum. These microbes can break down cellulose into a digestible form. 

These microorganisms aid in the production of microbial proteins and volatile fatty acids that animals get their nutrients from. 

Do Deer Chew Cud?

Yet another question that people quite often ask: do deers fall under the category of animals that chew cud? No worries because today, I’m going to step up to answer this question once and for all. 

Deers feed on grass, leaves, and other plant parts. These plant parts contain cellulose. Now, if you don’t know what cellulose is: cellulose are indigestible molecules, and deers can’t digest them as well. 

So the question is: how do deers digest these foods? Deers have many adaptations, including specialized digestive systems, symbiotic relationships with microorganisms, as well as unique behaviors. 

Deers have microorganisms that aid in the digestion of these foods (cellulose). These microorganisms live in the deers. So what happens is that the deer eats from the plants, and then the microorganisms can find them in the deer. These microorganisms are then responsible for breaking down the cellulose in plants into a digestible form for the deers. 

Like other ruminants, a deer has four stomach Chambers – the first one is rumen. The rumen is the stomach that stores food for the deer. 

The rumen is also responsible for gathering food for the deer, after which the deer can digest it later. So the deer can bring back the food to the mouth from the rumen and chew it a second time – a process called rumination. And animals that chew cud are called ruminants. 

The second part of the stomach is called the reticulum. This is the part where microorganisms found in the deer live. This is also the part where the microbes help with the breaking down of cellulose into a digestible form, which deers can have no problem digesting – fermentation. 

Fermentation produces a gas called methane. The deer should discharge this gas regularly – a process called burping. During the process of chewing cud mixed with these microorganisms, deers get a lot of nutrients. 

And when the deer completes chewing this food a second time, this food is goes down to the third chamber. 

deers also chew cud

So yes, deers chew the cud. Next time when someone asks you whether or not deers chew the cud, let them know that deers chew the cud. Heck, you can even go ahead and walk that person through the process of rumination because you’ve got the knowledge now. 

Do Rabbits Chew Cud?

If you are always curious and want to find out certain things, you will realize something unique about rabbits. Unlike other animals, rabbits are hindgut fermenters. This means that the cecum performs its fermentation process. Also, it is important that you that rabbits can’t puke, which is the reason why they suffer from gas and hairballs most of the time. 

rabbits do not chew cud

From the above clarification, you should be getting a hint that rabbits cannot chew cud. Because they can’t vomit. That means that you should expect them to chew cud if they can’t even puke. In short, rabbits don’t chew cud. 

In conclusion, bunnies are not ruminants. Lagomorphs group of animals don’t chew cud because they don’t have four stomach Chambers like other ruminants do – they only have one stomach. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like