What Do Both Animals & Plants Need in Order to Stay Alive?


Animals and plants are both categories, or kingdoms, of living organisms. Typically, these organism groups are considered to be quite different from each other. Plants are generally fixed to the ground (with the exception of algae and a few others) and can grow to suit their environment. In contrast, animals are generally mobile (with the exception of sponges, coral and a few others) and have a fixed pattern for growth. In spite of these differences, plants and animals do share many characteristics, especially when it comes to what they need in order to stay alive.


  • Water is essential for the survival of animals and plants. In both groups of organisms, it serves as a vehicle for transporting nutrients, and helps regulate metabolic processes (respiration in animals, photosynthesis in plants). According to LetUsFindOut.com, animals and plants both also use water to combat heat. While plants use the evaporation of water to moisten dry leaves; animals use the perspiration of water to cool down their bodies.


  • Animals and plants both need air in order to stay alive. However, they each take something different out of the air they come in contact with. Animals, through the process of respiration, use oxygen taken from the air to create energy, and produce a byproduct of carbon dioxide. In contrast, plants-- through the process of photosynthesis --convert carbon dioxide in the air into energy, and produce a byproduct of oxygen.


  • The absorption of nutrients is necessary for the survival of both plants and animals. However, the particular nutrients they need and the processes required for getting them are very different. According to MadSci.org, animals need to consume other organisms, such as plants, fungi, and other animals, so that they can obtain essential vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, fatty acids and minerals. Plants, in contrast, need to absorb the element nitrogen through their roots for survival, which is a major component of animal urine and feces (that is why the feces of cows and other animals is often used as plant fertilizer).


  • All plants need sunlight in order to survive. They absorb the sunlight and convert it into energy with chlorophyll molecules, which are responsible for giving most plants their distinctive green color. Whether or not animals need sunlight is a matter of some debate. While it is true that regular exposure (but not overexposure) to sunlight is extremely beneficial to animal health (as it a strong source of vitamin D), artificial lighting and other new technologies can potentially mimic the sun's positive effects. So natural sunlight may not be absolutely necessary for all animals to stay alive.

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