The Even-toed ungulates are hoofed mammals whose weight is borne about equally by their third and fourth toes, instead of mostly or entirely by the third as in odd-toed ungulates. For example, the odd-toed ungulates include horses, zebras, tapirs, donkeys and rhinoceroses. In other words, the even-toed ungulates stand on an even number of toes. Most of them live on grasslands, savannas and plains. They are found in every continent except for Antartica. They were introduced to Australia and New Zealand by humans. The even-toed ungulate mammals include pigs, hippopotamuses, camels, mousedeers, sheep, giraffes, goats and cows. There are about 220 species of them.
They have a bone in the ankle joints which gives more flexibility to their foot. Some species have horns and others have antlers. Most of them are herbivores, eating only plants. Some of them, like antelopes, have a four chambered stomach and longer intestines which enables them to digest celloluse from the plants – cellulose is harder to digest than meat.
Camels, llamas and mousedeers have a three-chambered stomach. The hippopotamuses are the heaviest even-toed ungulates. They weigh about 1.4-1.5 tonnes. They are about 2.7 metres (9 feet) long. They have a three-chambered stomach too and they do not chew their cud. They feed at night, eating grass. They may even walk up to 8 kilometres (5 miles) to look for food. They eat about 70kg (150 lb) of food each night. They depend on tiny creatures in the stomach to help digest the plants. The tallest even-toed ungulate is the Giraffe, which is also the tallest animal on land today.
Even-toed ungulates provide food and other benefits to humans, especially cows, sheep, pigs and goats. Today, the cattle business is a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide.