Just like humans, members of the animal kingdom are sometimes partial to a bit of fruit. The 15 creatures we present here can all be seen tucking into a piece of apple, banana, papaya or some other tasty treat, and they look pretty cute while doing so. However, their diets often contain a wider array of foodstuffs; everything from nectar and pollen to carrion and bats – or even a spot of cardboard and tin. And if they’re unlucky, some may even end up being a meal for other animals. Read on for our list of 15 adorable animals eating fruit.
Image: Tambako The Jaguar
15. Prairie Dog Eating an Apple
Prairie dogs live in elaborate underground burrows on the North American grasslands. Small seeds and grasses make up their staple diet, although they may also munch on stems, roots, buds and fruit; check out the little guy here with a piece of apple! Some species, though, such as the black-tailed prairie dog, feast on insects like beetles and grasshoppers. Eating also serves another useful purpose for these rodents, as their teeth grow continually all through their lives, and chewing helps wear the gnashers down to a manageable size. Much of the water they need comes from food, although when the colder months arrive, females that are pregnant or lactating also turn to snow for additional fluids.
14. Field Mouse Eating a Blackberry
Field mice are far from picky eaters, as anyone who has found one nibbling away at macaroni in their pantry can testify. In fact, they are classed as scavengers, meaning that they are willing to get their jaws around anything they can find, up to and including decaying animals. This blackberry, however, is perhaps a more appetizing prospect. The remarkable diet of field mice can also see them eat pet food, peaches, tomatoes, cookies, bread and – famously – cheese. They can be found, as their name suggests, in fields, as well as in forests, cities, or anywhere else that has a mild climate.
13. Gorilla Eating an Apple
The gorilla seen here may not look too pleased with its apple, but fruit constitutes a substantial part of the diet of the western lowland gorilla species. The mountain gorilla, meanwhile, munches instead on leaves, stems and shoots, as fruit is hard to find at high altitudes, and this latter species will occasionally also pick on grubs, snails and ants. Gorillas can actually live on vegetation alone, but because it rather lacks in nutrition, they must grab and eat as much as they can.
12. Squirrel Monkey Eating a Papaya
Squirrel monkeys are definitely morning types, as they feed mostly at daybreak. The tasty piece of papaya that this squirrel monkey has got its paws on could very well be a less common treat, as although they are classed as insectivores-frugivores (that is, both fruit- and insect-eaters), creepy-crawlies comprise up to 80 percent of their diet. Oh, and they can even go for larger prey, such as bats or small birds. Squirrel monkeys live in the forests of South and Central America, but they are somewhat endangered: one subspecies found in Costa Rica is estimated to have fewer than 2,000 of its kind left in the wild.
11. Chipmunk Eating an Apple
Like field mice, chipmunks will nibble away at a lot of different foodstuffs – including apples, as the cute critter pictured here will tell you. That said, their diet consists primarily of nuts, grains, bird eggs, insects, worms and fungi. They also occasionally snack on other fruits, among them bananas, grapes and dried apricots, and vegetables such as sweet corn or cucumber. Chipmunks gather their food in the underbrush of their habitats in North America and Asia, or where there are rocks and logs that can easily hide them from predators. If they don’t conceal themselves, they may end up being a feast for the likes of snakes, hawks, foxes or weasels.
10. Gold Dust Day Gecko Eating Melon
Gold dust day geckos are fond of certain fruits, so we like to think that the little chap pictured here is enjoying its chunk of melon. In general, they are omnivores, eating various types of insects, the nectar and pollen of a particular type of palm tree, and also hard fruits, which they lick. These brilliantly colored critters are to be found along Madagascar’s eastern coast, living on trees in rainforest environment.
Image: Marc Dalmulder
9. Rainbow Lorikeet Eating an Orange
This beautifully marked rainbow lorikeet is as bright as the orange on which it is feasting. The species, which can be found in Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, will happily take bites out of many types of fruit. In fact, these lorikeets are infamous for laying waste to fruit crops. Their diet also includes nectar and pollen from flowers, and they have a tongue that is expressly adapted for this purpose. The rainbow lorikeet is also particularly partial to sunflower seeds, oats and grains. Interestingly, some of the multicolored birds have become so used to humans that they will eat from their palms.
8. Tortoise Eating a Strawberry
The majority of tortoises based are herbivores, preferring to snack on stuff such as weeds, grasses and leafy greens, as well as certain fruits, like this bright red strawberry. However, species such as the Indian star tortoise and the Aldabra Atoll’s giant tortoise have been known to chomp down on carrion. The latter may even scavenge from the carcasses of other tortoises. Large portions of cauliflower and cabbage are a no-no for any of the animals, though, as they could lead to goiters (swollen thyroid glands). Instead of teeth, tortoises have a well-developed beak that enables them to munch their food.
7. Amazon Red Squirrel Eating a Mango
The Amazon red squirrel lives in the Amazon River’s lowlands in South America, and these rodents are mainly consumers of nuts with hard shells. The adorable creature pictured here was given these mango pieces when it stopped off at a Peruvian lodge. Amazon red squirrels mainly forage in the rainforest undergrowth, but they are always ready to scamper up a tree when the river floods in the wet season. The main threat to their population is habitat loss, although the squirrels are also hunted by humans in parts of Ecuador and Peru.
Image: Hans Splinter
6. Ring-tailed Lemur Eating an Apple
Although this particular ring-tailed lemur was photographed at a zoo in the Netherlands, the species is only found in the wild in Madagascar and nearby little islands. These lemurs feed on fruit, especially that of the tamarind tree, but also eat leaves, tree bark, flowers and sap. They’re not exclusively vegetarian, though, as they’re also known to snack on arthropods like spiders and caterpillars, and even chameleons and birds. To find food, these agile creatures maneuver through the trees using their arms and legs. However, they are unable to use their long tails as a gripping mechanism. Unlike most other lemurs, they’re often to be found on the ground, too.
5. Orangutan Eating Papaya
Papaya is only one of an amazing 400 varieties of plant stuffs that orangutans like to eat. However, these apes are particularly partial to spiky durians, which they break into with their jaws and various tools. To obtain other necessary nutrients such as protein and carbohydrates, orangutans also scoff nuts and leaves. Eating or looking for food takes up a substantial part of an orangutan’s day – up to six hours. These natives of the Sumatran and Borneo rainforests are also able to memorize where food sources can be found and observe the behavior of other animals to determine the location of fruit-bearing trees.
4. Coati Eating a Banana
Coatis love a bit of fruit, so it’s not surprising that this one seems to be tucking into its banana with relish. The mammals, which belong to the raccoon family, also enjoy eating tarantulas, bird and crocodile eggs, lizards, and rodents. They mostly use their acute sense of smell to find their prey in the rainforests, grasslands and more mountainous areas they call home in North, South and Central America. One of the white-nosed coati’s favorite foods is the prickly pear, and they’re not shy about taking all they can from the same tree until there’s nothing left.
3. Hamadryas Baboon Eating an Apple
Hamadryas baboons are found mostly in the rocky and semi-desert areas of Ethiopia, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. They are omnivores and primarily feast on grass, roots, nuts, seeds, insects, and little animals that they can find. However, baboons in general are not picky eaters and can change their dietary preferences based on what type of food is available at the time – so it’s perfectly likely that they would enjoy an apple if one were to hand. If they’re not careful, though, these cheeky creatures could themselves end up as a meal for leopards, hyenas, pythons or eagles.
2. Goat Eating an Apple
Goats are renowned for their curious spirit when it comes to eating, leading them to munch on objects as unusual as tin cans or cardboard boxes if they look at all like plant matter. This piece of apple, therefore, is perhaps a more mundane, but much healthier, choice. In general, though, goats prefer vines, shrubbery and weeds. And while they can be adventurous eaters, not everything is good for them: paper, due to its lack of nutrients, and dog and cat food are particular no-nos. Nightshade, mold and wilted fruit leaves can even prove fatal for the animals.
1. Rabbit Eating a Banana
This adorable bunny seems quite content nibbling on its tasty treat, although it’s recommended that house rabbits should mainly partake of grass hay, which gives them valuable nutrients like Vitamins A and D, protein and calcium. In the wild, they’re also partial to herbs, grasses, leaves, twigs and flowers, found in the fields and meadows in which they graze. Bananas are acceptable as an occasional snack, but their high sugar content means that they should only be eaten as an occasional treat. Leafy greens are also great, but rabbits should stay away completely from dairy, meat, nuts or processed food.