Perissodactyla diet

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Abstract

Perissodactyla (Schoch 1989) includes tapirs, rhinoceros, wild asses, horses, and zebras. It is the order of hoofed mammals referred to as “odd-toed ungulates” because its members have one to three weight-bearing toes and walk on hoofs or “ungules.” They are herbivores that are specialized to exploit grasslands and brushy habitat (rhinos, horses, asses, zebras) or dense tropical forests (tapirs). All share a common digestive system called hindgut fermentation, or cecal digestion (in the cecum), and can consume relatively tough, coarse forage. Some perissodactyls are “browsers” that forage primarily on woody shrubs and trees, whereas others are “grazers” with a graminoid-dominated diet. They are all predominantly opportunistic feeders and select for quantity over quality of forage; that is, they consume more abundant low-quality forage instead of searching and selecting for higher-quality forage because it gives them the advantage of reducing search effort, which conserves energy.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Perissodactyla diet
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_897-1
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title Encyclopedia of animal cognition and behavior