Ruminants and Monogastrics

What are ruminants?

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September 26, 2017 8:03AM

Ruminants are animals that have a four-chambered stomachs designed for digesting coarse plant matter. They are also called fore-gut fermentors because one of the chambers, the rumen, is responsible for the fermentation and digestion of forage through the use of microflora in the rumen. Ruminants are also known to regurgitate and chew a bolus of partially digested matter called cud.

Ruminant animals include the following:

  • Cattle
  • Bison
  • Sheep
  • Goats
  • Antelope
  • Deer
  • Caribou/Reindeer
  • Moose
  • Elk
  • Buffalo
  • Giraffe

Camels, alpacas and llamas, though they too chew cud like ruminant animals, are actually not true ruminants. They are called "pseudo-ruminants" because they only have two forestomachs (three stomach chambers) and lack a rumen.

Horses, rabbits, pigs, humans, bears and many other animals are non-ruminants because all listed only have a simple stomach. These simple-stomached animals are called "Monogastrics." Horses, rabbits and hares are capable of being strictly herbivorous due to a large functional cecum connecting to the large intestine which is where the main fermentation of digesta occurs. Not only are they monogastrics, but they are also called "hind-gut fermentors" due to this. By contrast, ruminants and psuedo-ruminants are called "fore-gut fermentors" because the fermentation occurs before the stomach--being the "abomasum"--hence the fact that they have three (ruminants) or two (pseudo-ruminants) "forestomachs."
Ruminant animals are animals with a complex / four chamber stomach
Ruminants are those animals that are able to chew cud and have more than one chamber in their stomach. Such animals include cattle, sheep, deer, bison, moose, caribou, antelope, etc.