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Definition: ruminant from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Any even-toed hoofed mammal with a rumen, the ‘first stomach’ of its complex digestive system. Plant food is stored and fermented before being brought back to the mouth for chewing (chewing the cud) and then is swallowed to the next stomach. Ruminants include cattle, antelopes, goats, deer, and giraffes, all with a four-chambered stomach. Camels are also ruminants, but they have a three-chambered stomach.


Rothchild's giraffe

Summary Article: ruminant
From Philip's Encyclopedia

Cud-chewing, even-toed, hoofed mammal. They include the okapi, chevrotain, deer, giraffe, antelope, cattle, sheep, and goat. All except the chevrotain have four-chambered stomachs, and they are known for re-chewing food previously swallowed and stored in one of the chambers.


Impalas are found in the grasslands of central and e Africa. Like other ruminants, they can regurgitate small amounts of food that have been partly digested, for chewing again, reswallowing, and further digestion. This enables them to obtain a lot of food in a short time, then retreat to a safe, sheltered place to digest it. When grazing, an impala grasps vegetation between its spade-like incisors (1) and a hard upper pad (2), and pulls it up rather than biting it off. The molars (3) are ideal for chewing. The gap between incisors and molars (4) allows the tongue to mix food with saliva. The powerful masseter muscle (5) moves the jaw up and down, while other facial muscles move it laterally for grinding.

Copyright © 2007 Philip's

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