Cow adaptations

The cow is one of the most popular mammals that exist in the animal kingdom. It is herbivorous, that is, it feeds on herbs and plants, so it is a common landscape to observe cows in large fields feeding in this way. It is also recognized for being the female of the bull and an integral part of the so-called cattle. Meanwhile, the species is formally referred to as Bos Primigenius Taurus.

What are the cow adaptations ?

1. Ruminants (four stomachs)

Cattle like to eat in the coolest moments of the day. They feed on grass and hay. In addition, they can also consume corn, soy, sorghum and wheat. In a single day, dairy cows eat up to 7 kg of grain and more than 30 kg of grass.

A cow that is newly calved and gives a lot of milk needs to eat a lot of feed every day to avoid becoming skinny. A cow that produces 40-50 kg of milk every day needs to eat about 12-15 kg of dry matter roughage.

Grass cell wall is made from cellulose . Cellulose is the vegetable fiber . It makes grass, stems and leaves tear-resistant and tough. Grass, but also the flowers and herbs of a meadow are made up of one third cellulose. Cellulose is the most common organic substance on earth. Cellulose is almost as energetic as wood if you wanted to burn it. In contrast, only bacteria and fungi can digest cellulose . Methane is a by-product of this degradation.

Cows have adapted to having a stomach with four chambers allowing the cattle to digest forages as their primary food sources, unlike us and other mammals which only have a limited capacity to digest forages in our colon.


Since mammals do not themselves have enzymes that can break down plant food, the animals instead use bacteria, which can break down the plants in a fermentation process.

The bacteria acquire the animals by eating soil. In rumination, fermentation takes place in the front of the digestive system. The food from the esophagus goes straight down into the cow’s mouth, which is the first of four stomachs to pass the food, before being sent out into the small intestine. When the bacteria in the gut have given the food the proper texture, it floats into the next gastric chamber, where it ages and creates a ball of food.

Then the cow bumps the ball into the mouth, where it is thoroughly chewed and mixed with saliva enzymes. It is this extra processing of the food that is called rumination. When the cow has finished chewing, the ball sinks into the third stomach, which knocks it on. From there, it is sent almost virtually broken down into the fourth and actual stomach, the running stomach, which contains acid that kills bacteria, so that the cow avoids diseases and at the same time utilizes the protein that the bacteria have built up during their growth. The horse has a completely different digestive system, where fermentation takes place at the back of the system, in the large intestine and in the large intestine .

2. Sweating and regulating body temperature

Cows produce a lot of body heat due to their high metabolic rate; With increasing milk production, body heat production increases (approx. 31 percent of the energy consumed is converted into heat). The milk cow feels most comfortable in a range of four to 16 degrees. The cow does not have to regulate her body temperature here.
At more than 16 degrees, the cow releases body heat through evaporation through increased breathing or sweating.
The relative humidity of the environment also has a limiting effect. The cow can no longer give off her body heat to a sufficient degree because the air temperature and / or relative air humidity in her environment are too high.

3.They produce non acidic saliva

A cow produces 100 to 200 liters of saliva a day. The saliva of a cow – unlike ours – is not acidic and the contents of the stomach do not contain hydrochloric acid as in humans and carnivores. The cow’s saliva is a bicarbonate solution and buffers the pH in the cow’s stomach. Acid in the rumen would disrupt the cow’s rumen flora or kill the microorganisms we mentioned above .


4. Their teeth is adapted for their diet

Cattle has 32 teeth which help them cut and tear the grass and then chew them .Cow teeth adaptation

Adults tooth formula is

0 0 3 3
3 1 3 3

which means:

  • Upper jaw :No front teeth ( incisors ) and no canines ( canines ) . Instead, there is a horned pillow that the lower jaw teeth work against when picking.
  • Three front teeth lower teeth and one canine tooth in each half of the jaw. However, the canines are reshaped to look like front teeth and, like these, have a cutting function.
  • Three front cheek teeth ( premolars ) and three rear cheek teeth ( molars ) in all four jaw halves. All cheek teeth are adapted to chewing hard chewed food. They are selenodontic , that is, provided with crescent-shaped hard enamel jars, which run inside the tooth down through the entire high crown and can withstand wear very well. There is a gap ( diastema ) between the canine teeth and the anterior cheek teeth.


5.Two toed hooves

Cows have hooves which are two toed  it helps to support there weight , walk rough , soft and rocky lands as they graze.



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