8 Animals Who Are Notoriously Picky Eaters
Most animals enjoy a variety of nuts, plants and fruits to eat, but there are some who turn up their noses at almost everything - except that one and only food item they truly love. Here are eight creatures who take their love of their favorite meal to the extreme.
Panda's are bamboo-eating machines. They're kind of famous for munching on the plant. What's surprising is that eating strictly bamboo should actually be killing them – but it doesn't! Pandas have the digestive system of meat eaters, but they consume different parts of the bamboo shoots to try and obtain the proteins needed to survive. It seems to be working out OK for them.
2. Greater gliders
Greater gliders might look like mice with larger tails and makeshift wings, but you won't see them scouring the garbage can anytime soon. They eat only eucalyptus leaves. Gliders have an abnormally large caecum, a pouch at the beginning of the large intestine, that allows them to rid the leaves of their poison so they can consume them. Another animal that has almost exactly the same diet is, you might've guessed, the koala.
3. Blue whales
Blue whales aren't so much persnickety eaters as they are kind of lazy. The big fellas subsist almost entirely on krill. They open their enormous mouths and take in gallons of water teeming with tiny krill, so many in fact that they eat around 4 tons of them a day! Hey, why bother chasing down dinner when you can let it swim right into your mouth?
We're not psychic or anything, but we're guessing you might be able to figure this one out on your own. That's right, anteaters devour – what else? – ants. However, you might not be aware that they have a hankering for termites, too. In fact, these guys lap up nearly 35,000 ants and termites a day with their tongues. Those suckers can reach up to two feet inside an anthill, leaving the poor guys with nowhere to hide.
5. Snail kites
Snail kites have been endangered since 1967, in part due to a lack of a suitable habitat in which they can find their favorite meal – the apple snail. They're found primarily in the Everglades and have specially evolved beaks designed to weed apple snails out of their shells. They use their feet, rather than their beaks, to capture snails on the surface of the water or on land, but never under the water. Sewage disposal and a lack of wetlands flooding are large reasons apple snails and snail kites are in decline.
6. Pen-tailed tree shrews
It's fair to say these little guys like to have a good time: The tree shrew diet consists almost entirely of fermented nectar from the bertam palm plant, which has an alcohol content up to 3.8 percent. That's like a human living on a 100 percent beer-based diet, Live Science points out. Surprisingly, the shrews don't actually get drunk off it.
7. Palm nut vultures
Whether these beautiful girls are actually vultures is up for debate, but one thing is certain – they love their palm nuts. Unlike most birds classified as vultures, these ladies don't eat primarily meat. They spend their days munching on the nuts of palm fruits. They access the fruit by handing upside down beside it and yanking it down. They do eat other prey like fish, but they prefer their fruity nuts the most.
8. Marine iguanas
These guys get a bad rap due to their somewhat menacing appearance, but they're actually gentle vegans! Marine iguanas are native to the Galapagos Islands and maintain a strict diet of seaweed and algae, National Geographic reports. Fun fact: They consume so much salt through their diet that they have to expel it through sneezing, which often lands on their heads causing a white "wig." Not so fun fact: They guys are vulnerable to extinction.