Dinosaurs Day 7: Herbivores, Carnivores & Omnivores

Dinosaurs Day 7: Herbivores, Carnivores & Omnivores

Herbivores, Carnivores & Omnivores

For this day we studied the differences between herbivore, carnivore, and omnivore dinosaurs.  We also did a few math and writing activities today.


What are somedifferences in the characteristics of the meat-eating dinosaurs and the plant-eating dinosaurs. Show pictures of different types of teeth. If a dinosaur was an herbivore, ate plants only, what kind of teeth did it have? Did it have claws? Did it have a large mouth or a small mouth? What if the dinosaur was a carnivore and ate meat only? What kind of teeth would it have? Would it have claws? We can determine the diet of a dinosaur by the shape of its teeth.

Plant-eaters (herbivores) (Ankylosaurus)usually have blunt teeth that are good for stripping leaves and other plants. Some also have flat teeth for grinding tough plant fibers. Many herbivores have cheek pouches in which they can store food for a while. Herbivores usually have to eat a much larger volume of material than carnivores do in order to get the same amount of calories (this is because leaves, twigs, and roots are low in calories). Herbivores usually have larger digestive systems that are needed to digest large amounts of tough plant fibers. Some dinosaurs swallowed rocks (called gastroliths), to help grind up the fibers in their stomachs.

Meat-eaters (carnivores) (Dromaeosaurus)need to have some way to get meat. Carnivorous dinosaurs usually had long, strong legs so that they could run quickly in order to catch their prey. They also needed large, strong jaws, sharp teeth, and deadly claws so they could kill and then tear apart the prey. Good eyesight, a keen sense of smell, and a large brain to plan hunting strategies are also very important for successful hunting. Many of the carnivores may have hunted in packs, so social cooperation was necessary for a good hunt for some species. Animals that are primarily scavengers (animals that eat meat that they did not kill themselves) need very sharp teeth and strong jaws for tearing into less than prime cuts of meat. Some dinosaurs were fish eaters. A few dinosaurs have been found with small, fossilized animals within their fossil, giving information about their diet.
Only a few of the known dinosaurs were omnivores (eating both plants and animals)(Gallimimus). They ate plants, eggs, insects, etc. Also, most herbivores are “accidental omnivores” because when they eat plants, they accidentally ingest many insects and other small animals.
Comprehension Questions:
  1. What is a meat-eating dinosaur called? carnivore
  2. What is a plant-eating dinosaur called? herbivore
  3. What is a dinosaur called when it eats both meat and plants? omnivore
Dinosaur Flashcard:
Separate the Dinosaur Flashcards into Herbivore, Carnivore and Omnivore dinosaurs.
Dinosaur Journal:
Make a list of a few herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores in the dinosaur book.IMG_1776

Herbivore or Carnivore


  1. Using the Camel Illustrations on the worksheet below, show the children just the picture of the skull.
    Herbivore or Carnivore
    What do you know about this animal?
    What can you figure out just from this skull?
    Was it a meat-eater or a plant-eater?
    What would it have used its teeth for?
    What would it have looked like?
    Did it have hair, scales or skin?
    What color might it have been and why?
  2. Give the children a copy of the worksheet and talk about the following questions together. Ask the children what they “know” about this animal, what they can figure out from just the skull. Was it a meat-eater or a plant-eater? What would it have used its teeth for? What would it have looked like? Did it have hair, scales or skin? What color might it have been and why?
  3. Have the children write down their answers underneath the skull and draw a picture on the back of their paper of what they think it looked like while it was alive. After they have finished writing their answers in their best handwriting show them the camel’s face.images1
  4. This is what it really have looked like. Compare this picture to what the children guessed and talk about the differences. images2
  5. Show the picture of the whole camel. Explain that even though camels have sharp teeth they don’t eat meat. Just because a creature has sharp teeth, it doesn’t “prove” they were meat-eaters. In order to know for sure, we must actually be able to observe the animal. Since scientists can not observe living dinosaurs, they have to make their best guesses about them, just like you just did with the camel skull. Guesses are not facts, even a very intelligent guess is still not a fact.
  6. Ask the children to verbally explain to you the difference between a guess and a fact. Ask the children if they can think of any other animals that have sharp teeth but are not meat-eaters. Two other good examples would be the panda bear and the fruit bat.IMG_1777

Dino Diet

I printed off the Dino Diet worksheet for J to make up a dino and write about it.

What Did Dinosaurs Eat

  • Hotdogs
  • Pepperoni
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Apples
  • Watermelon
  • Dinosaur Cards (most Herbivores)


  1. Child may sort the food into meat, vegetables (or leaves) and fruit.
  2. The teacher motivates counting by asking: Which of these sets has more? Which has less? How do you know?
  3. Match the Carnivore dinosaur cards to the meat pile and the Herbivore dinosaur cards to the vegi pile. Are there more herbivore dinosaurs or carnivore dinosaurs.IMG_1785


Each child is given a snack and as the students munch on “meat” and on “plants” discuss how scientists have found fossilized teeth that tell us what these different animals ate.

Each type of tooth has a special job. Some teeth are for biting. Which are those? (The student think about which teeth they are using to bite the snack of “meat” and “plants” – the front teeth.) Your front teeth have sharp ridges on them still because they are new. But mine (the teacher’s front teeth) don’t have these sharp points on them. Why do you think that is? Yes, in time the ridges wear off. These teeth are called incisors.

Which teeth are for tearing off pieces of meat? (The canines, which have sharp points on them. These are for tearing. What are the back teeth for? (For grinding and smashing into smaller pieces so that we can swallow our food.) These teeth are also calle d molars.  In Spanish, the word molar means“to grind,” which is what these teeth do to the food before we swallow.

Which teeth are we using to eat our “plants”? (We bite first, and then we chew; but we don’t have to tear the fruit or vegetables.) Humans have both kinds of teeth because humans eat meat, and humans eat plants also. That makes us Omnivores.  What do we think if a dinosaur skull is found and all its teeth, but a few front ones, are flat? (That they were plant eaters.) What do we think if a dinosaur skull is found and all its teeth, but a few front ones, have sharp points? (That they were meat eaters.)   What do crocodiles eat? (Fish and large mammals.) What do lizards eat? What do turtles eat? (Many turtles are toothless; they eat mostly insects, slugs or other small animals; they can eat plants but only the soft parts, because they do not have teeth that can grind the food.) Crocodiles, lizards and turtles are reptiles like dinosaurs, so they probably ate similar things.  What observations did we make that helped us guess what the dinosaurs ate? What observations do we use to say whether a dinosaur is a meat eater or a plant eater? Remember, observations help us to make good guesses like scientists. These observations helps us sort the dinosaurs in many different ways.

Measuring Dinos

  • Toy dinos
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Note Card
  1. Measure each dinosaur and record the results on a note card.
  2. Which is the biggest and which is the smallest? Which is the tallest and which is the shortest?IMG_1770 IMG_1771

Dinosaur Dominoes

J and played Dinosaur Dominoes for fun.  IMG_1772

Dino Soduku

J colored the Dino Soduku page and then cut out the dinos on the bottom of the page.  Then he could add the correct dinos to the soduku board.IMG_1773

Dinosaur Acrostic

  • Oh My, Oh My, Oh Dinosaur by Sandra Boynton


An adjective is a describing word. Ask the child what words describe a dinosaur? Use adjectives to create an acrostic poem about dinosaurs.


Write a Dinosaur Acrostic Poem with page 3 of this download. Begin each line with a word that starts with the letter on that line.IMG_1780

J wanted to write the name of a dinosaur for each line on the acrostic rather than an adjective.

Dinosaur Unit Study

Day 1: Creation

Day 2: The Fall

Day 3: Extinction

Day 4: Paleontology & Fossils

Day 5: Dinosaur Classification

Day 6: Marine & Flying Reptiles

Day 7: Herbivores, Carnivores & Onmivores

Day 8: Mesozoic Era

Day 9: Triassic Dinosaurs

Day 10: Jurassic Herbivores

Day 11: Jurassic Carnivores

Day 12: Cretaceous Herbivores

Day 13: Triceratops

Day 14: Cretaceous Omnivores

Day 15: Cretaceous Carnivores

Day 16: Tyrannosaurus Rex


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