Major differences between plants and animals

Major differences between plants and animals

What is the difference between plants and animals? You’d think the answer would be obvious. However, when asked this question, a lot of people freeze up. Their natural impulse is to say that “Plants aren’t alive”, but that isn’t true. They know the real answer but just can’t phrase it. If you’d like to know the major differences between plants and animals and teach them your kids, continue reading below!

Elephant near tree

10 differences between plants and animals

Both plants and animals make up two of the five large groups of living creatures. However, that is pretty much the point where the similarities end and diversification begins. It’s true that both groups need air, nutrition, and have the ability to reproduce and grow. But the differences between them lie in how they do all those things.

It’s quite a shame that we, as human beings, spend each day near hundreds of flowers, fruits, pets, and wild animals, yet still know so little about them. Lucky for us, we can always fill in the blanks in our knowledge. So let’s take the first step in undoing this injustice and learn. Below you’ll find the list of the top 10 differences between plants and animals:

1. Difference in food consumption

African buffalo
  • Plants: They create their own nutrition by using H2O and carbon dioxides, and combining them with sunlight and chlorophyll.

Interesting fact: There are exceptions to this rule, as non-green types of plants have other ways of manufacturing their food.

  • Animals: Animals, on the other hand, aren’t able to create food for themselves. They have to rely on eating plants or a different kind of animal species.

2. Difference in nutrition storage

  • Plants: They don’t have any inner organs, and thus there’s no need for them to digest their food. Instead, plants synthesize it, equally distributing the energy through the body.
  • Animals: Before the eaten food can be turned into energy, it first has to go through the digestive system.

3. Difference in motion

Cheetah running
  • Plants: Apart from growing, they don’t demonstrate any significant amount of movement. However, scientists did observe that plants can initiate tiny movements with their leaves.
  • Animals: Movement is one of the defining characteristics of an animal. Their motion is initiated by the work of their organs and muscles, as they allow them to look for food.

4. Difference in growth

  • Plants: Plants grow from special zones located in the root and stem, which are consistently divided and expanded.
  • Animals: Animals grow as an entire organism. All of the individual organs increase in size simultaneously to keep the body in balance.

5. Difference in size limit

  • Plants: Most types of plants can grow indefinitely, as their size increases gradually the longer they live. That’s why trees can grow for hundreds of years, and only get bigger as time goes by.
  • Animals: They can only grow in size to a certain extent and then stop. The reason behind this is that numerous animal cell types lose their ability to multiply.

6. Difference in breathing

Potter plants in Nigeria

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  • Plants: As you know, plants don’t exactly breathe. Instead, their respiration process consists of gases swapping places via the stomata.
  • Animals: Animals have multiple ways of respiration. They can breathe in oxygen through their skin and lungs.

Interesting fact: Fish get oxygen through their gills. Unlike other animals, they receive O2 from water and not the air.

7. Difference in excretion

  • Plants: Plants discharge environmentally-safe elements that were contained in their organism. Even more so, they have the ability to absorb harmful products and decompose them into sanitary components.
  • Animals: They defecate all sorts of wastes, including urine and feces, through their digestive system.

Interesting fact: A lot of animal excretions can be used as manure in agriculture.

8. Difference in recreation

Flowers and a bird
  • Plants: Plants don’t have genders. Thus, they reproduce asexually, through spores and other vegetative means.
  • Animals: Animals breed by sexual methods, as they have special organs designed for this purpose.

Interesting fact: Animals are also capable of asexual reproduction. For example, Amoebas can only procreate using this method.

9. Difference in reactions

  • Plants: Plants don’t possess a nervous system and lack any organs that could be used to sense the surrounding environment. As a result, their responses to various stimulants are passive and non-efficient.
  • Animals: Animals have a nervous system and all the necessary organs. Thus, they can quickly respond to various catalysts. The speed of the reaction is dependent on the type of species and can range from lightning-fast to extremely slow.

10. Cell differences between plants and animals

Plant and animal cell difference
  • Plants: Plant cells tend to be larger and have a regular shape. Their nucleus is pressed up against the wall of the cell. Plants also contain chloroplasts that are absent in animals.
  • Animals: Animal cells are smaller and their shapes are random. Since the cells don’t have walls, the nucleus is located in the center.

Now you know all the differences between plants and animals. You may be already familiar with some of this information. However, it’s crucial to systemize our knowledge, so that we can put all the pieces of a puzzle together.

On this note, we would like to wish you a beautiful day, and remember to always keep learning!

READ ALSO: Advantages and disadvantages of pastoral farming


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