Are humans the only picky eaters?

21 October 2012

Question

Naked Scientists, There are people in the world who do not like the taste of seafood. Others don't like sweets. Still others avoid bitter or sour foods. We all have different tastes. I am curious however about the rest of the animals on planet Earth. Are there panda bears who don't like bamboo? Are there sharks who avoid seafood? Do some lions dislike gazelle meat? Or are humans the only picky eaters? Mark Wilson San Diego, California, U.S.A.

Answer

Ginny - Well, there are animals who are very fussy. For example, pandas only live off bamboo, so they'll only eat that one thing, but I think what he was really asking is whether there are animals like humans where certain individuals do and don't like particular foods. And when I looked into this, I found many more reports of this in pet animals than in wild animals. So there are lots of people out there who report cats who will only eat one brand of cat food and dogs who leave certain bits of their kibble. So, I was thinking it may be that we notice it more in pets than in wild animals because we spend more time with them or it may be something that only happens when food is plentiful. So, you can imagine that even a child who hates broccoli, if it was the only thing available for them to eat, they'd probably eat it. So it could be that picky eaters only really exist when there's plenty of food around.

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