What are Some Differences Between Plant and Animal Cells?

Plant cells have cell walls.
Animal cells usually have multiple, small vacuoles.
Under a microscope, a plant cells have a more regular shape then animal cells.
Article Details
  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 15 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

Animal and plant cells have some key similarities and noted differences. Understanding basic cell structure helps to understand how plant cells differ from animal cells. They do differ in important ways, as plant cells provide different functions for the plant, than animal cells provide for the body.

Both animal and plant cells have some similar structural elements. First off they are both eukaryotic, which means they have a defined nucleus. The nucleus contains chromosomes. It is protected and surrounded by the cytoplasm, which is a watery or gel-like liquid. Further, animal and plant cells have a cell membrane that surrounds the cell. This allows for the cell to exert control, in most cases, over what can penetrate the cell, and what cannot.

One of the primary differences between animal and plant cells is that plant cells have a cell wall made up of cellulose. This helps the plant cells to allow high pressure to build inside of it, without bursting. A plant cell has to be able to accept large amounts of liquid through osmosis, without being destroyed. An animal cell does not have this cell wall. If you start to fill the animal cell with too much distilled water or other fluid, it will eventually pop.

Ad

Plant cells also are different from animal cells because they use photosynthesis to covert sunlight into needed food for the plant. Plant cells have chloroplasts, which has its own DNA, essentially directing the work of the chloroplasts.

Also plant cells, if one could view them under the microscope, appear extremely different than an animal cell because of the presence of a large vacuole, which exists in the cell’s cytoplasm. It usually takes up most of the room in the cell, and the membrane of the cell encircles it. It contains waste materials, water, and nutrients that can be used or secreted as necessary.

Animal cells have small vacuoles and may have numerous ones. They never have the large single vacuole that takes up most of the space in plant cells. As well, under the microscope plant cells often have a more regular shape. Animal cells tend to vary greatly in appearance.

The differences between plant and animal cells can become more complex, but the primary differences exist in the above-mentioned ways. To sum, animal and plant cells both have a nucleus, a cytoplasm, and a cell membrane. Plant cells also have a large cell vacuole, chloroplasts, a cell wall and a regular shape. Small vacuoles, no cell wall, varied shapes, and the absence of chloroplasts characterize animal cells.

Ad

Discussion Comments

anon131244
Post 467

i am still want to know is there more than six differences for the animal and plant cells.

anon119928
Post 449

what things does the animal cell have that the plant cell does not have?

anon116461
Post 442

Thanks for the help, but are these the only differences between both cells?

anon116270
Post 441

This article helps a lot for gcse; core, double and triple if needed. This article also helps with biology As level but for As level the more complex detail is needed. This partly helped with my biology As level but this was already taught to me. Only if you could produce this in more detail. Thank you a lot anyway. God bless.

anon115832
Post 440

this is very good info. the best helps

anon115458
Post 439

thank you very much. you helped me. i had no idea that the plant cell was bigger than the animal cell.

anon113503
Post 434

the plant cell is larger than the animal cell.

anon101769
Post 409

I'm so thankful for this information. It helped me a lot.

anon99034
Post 404

Thanks for this info! i have many lessons I've learned!

anon95712
Post 399

it was good, i gained some information which i badly need for my bio lab report.

anon90179
Post 389

Awesome. This is truly helpful.

anon89707
Post 388

great for cramming for a test

anon89210
Post 385

i guess an animal cell is bigger than a plant cell.

anon85031
Post 376

plant and animal cell size can be the same but also plant cells can be bigger and animal cells can be bigger. it varies with the size of the animal or plant.

anon85030
Post 375

this helped with homework and i could not remember that the animal cell did not have a cell wall. without this i could have forgotten!

And do plant and/or animal cells die and if so how?

anon82922
Post 368

what does an animal cell have that the plant cells don't?

anon80775
Post 358

Helped with my homework but forgot to bring paper home!

anon78934
Post 348

great article. good for essays on the subject

anon77089
Post 344

ok website. i don't like science. it's very boring.

anon73805
Post 336

This website is educational.

anon73803
Post 335

Our teacher showed us this very very educational website and it helps a lot.

anon71970
Post 328

this information helped me a little. It would be great if the information was more explained. thank you from me the eighth grader.

anon71933
Post 327

this is very helpful but i am kind of confused

what structures in animal cells and plant cells causes them to have two different shapes, such as a round shape and rectangular shape?

anon71851
Post 326

so many times I have studied the difference between plant cells and animal cells, but still I was confused and didn't understand it. Today when I read through this, I'm totally satisfied, and hope it will help me on my demonstration which is to be on Monday. Thanks for providing such great and understandable definitions.

Murtaza S. karachi, pakistan.

anon71555
Post 325

i was too lazy to look it up in the textbook,

were it had all the info, so i decided to go on a website and this helped a lot. thanks.

anon70947
Post 322

This really helps better than the science book I have! Thanks!

anon69343
Post 320

thank you so much! helped a lot explaining my homework. my science teacher doesn't give us much to work with. Thanks!

anon69252
Post 319

Thanks. This helped a lot with my homework, but i just have one question: Why does a plant cell contain a cell membrane and a cell wall, but an animal only contains a cell membrane?

anon69188
Post 318

it is helping me to study for the test on monday. Today is saturday and this is cool.

anon69000
Post 317

Thanks. This is ok but not a lot of help. you need to be more specific in the explanation but it's ok. i got some facts for my essay.

Moderator's reply: Thank you for reading wiseGEEK and participating in the discussion forums. It is impossible to cover every aspect of such a broad topic in a 400-word essay. However, we always encourage our readers to do more research on topics if they want more details.

anon68842
Post 313

thanks a lot for the answers for my science project.

anon68839
Post 312

this helped me to do my homework.

anon68667
Post 311

thanks for my homework answers.

anon68656
Post 310

Thanks. This helped with my science project of the week. Thanks a lot.

anon68474
Post 307

thank you very much for that information. it is very good, but i only needed one more thing

anon68288
Post 306

Thanks! Really helped with my biology project!

anon68247
Post 305

this was somehow helpful, in a case like mine.

anon68071
Post 304

this helped me. thanks.

anon68060
Post 303

well this information helped me a lot on my science project. Thanks wisegeek.

anon67872
Post 302

thanks. this information helps me a lot in science.

anon67423
Post 299

This is so useful. i have used this like 20 times already. freshman.

anon67204
Post 297

Thanks, it helped! from- Mitu.

anon66480
Post 295

Thanks. this helped me figure out the differences between plant and animal cells for my biology assignment. really helpful and great work!

anon66216
Post 294

thanks. it's helping on a class project!

anon66073
Post 293

thanks. this will help me with my homework!

anon65837
Post 291

this is awesome.

anon65588
Post 290

wow i didn't understand half the things my teacher said, but i get it now. thanks. this was very helpful!

anon65100
Post 288

thank you. this was extremely helpful since i only had five minutes to do my homework.

anon65075
Post 287

i am really struggling in science and this helped so much! thank you!

anon65056
Post 286

This helped me complete my science project! Thanks!

anon64668
Post 281

Thanks. this helped me pass my biology project.

anon64636
Post 280

Wow this helped a lot! This was for my homework and I really understand now! Cool.

anon64414
Post 279

cheers! this helped me so much! the question came up in a past paper i was doing and it was an essay question worth 15 percent marks.

anon64317
Post 278

thank you so much. this helped me so much on my science project.

anon64005
Post 275

This was so much help. Thanks.!

anon63552
Post 274

This helped a lot! thanks.

anon63471
Post 273

thank you so much. this helped me so much on my science homework. i love it.

anon63467
Post 272

thank you so much for helping me with my homework.

anon63369
Post 271

thanks, this will help for my exam:)

anon63332
Post 270

Thank you for simplifying what I needed to understand for my college level biology class. I haven't used any of this knowledge in about 25 years.

anon62984
Post 267

This help me so much. thank you. i think i will get an "A" on my test.

anon62631
Post 266

thank you for the help. i have been working on this project for three hours.

anon61681
Post 261

This saved me from suspension!

anon61551
Post 259

Wow! This helped me mucho! thumbs up. I also wanted to know why is it that plants don't locomote but that's ok!

anon61514
Post 258

Wow, thanks. I was studying for final exams and this helped.

anon60605
Post 254

thanks. it helped a lot for my science homework!

anon60593
Post 253

yes, thank you! I've used this like five times. i'm glad though, its been so useful. -freshman

anon60264
Post 249

Thank you. this will help for my final!

nano456
Post 248

Thank you to whoever typed this. it really helps to understand that you guys/girls simplified it into a readable manner. -grateful 8th grader

anon59960
Post 246

thanks to all of you because it helps me a lot with my individual report. thank you and God bless!

anon59955
Post 245

this has helped me so much for my research. Thank you everyone who wrote on here. :)

anon59900
Post 243

wow! this is so great! i did not have much time to study on a regular basis .... but this web site gives so much information ! thank you so much :)

from , the lovely blonde

anon59891
Post 242

Thank you thank you thank you! you answered my question exactly! thank you! i wish i had found this website before! you guys are awesome! thank you!

anon59209
Post 238

I need help to find out two differences between plant and animal cell structures and how they are related to the ways the cells function. Thanks!!!

I would really appreciate it if someone could help me. :)

anon59114
Post 236

Thanks this was very helpful! especially with my science review!

anon59015
Post 232

thanks. this helped a lot.

anon58821
Post 231

thank you

anon58799
Post 230

i loved your website. it helped me with my future reference.

anon58636
Post 229

thanks this saved me from a detention!

anon58515
Post 228

This helped me with my biology investigation, thank you very, very, awfully much. :-)

anon58317
Post 227

This helped a lot for my last minute project.

(I'm horrible at time management), but anyway, this was great help!

anon57753
Post 226

thanks so much. this helped a lot in doing my homework.

anon57658
Post 225

Thanks a lot. this helped me for doing my project

anon56721
Post 223

thanks it was a big help with my science home work.

anon56561
Post 222

thank you! I'm studying for my very first biology final, and i had no idea what the differences were. well i didn't realize they were different, but he said that was one of our topics, so i looked it up!!! Thank you so much. -- watchutsu

anon56547
Post 221

This website is cool! it helped me a lot with my academic fair project and it helped me understand more about cells.

anon56491
Post 220

this is very useful and helped a lot in my test.

anon55715
Post 213

thanks. i needed this web site for my test.

anon55604
Post 212

thanks you helped me with my science project by like, a lot! thanks. -a seventh grader

anon55493
Post 211

thanks for saving my grade in biology.

anon55429
Post 210

awesome! my science teacher gave me a website to do my homework, with but i cant find anything on it! muchas gracias!

anon54978
Post 209

this is the best science reference worksheet that i have ever been to. thanks. you really saved my butt!-.-!

anon53842
Post 206

thanks for this. people that take the time to do things like this rock our world!

anon53823
Post 205

This is the best website for my science homework!

anon53809
Post 204

Thank you (as the other comments say also)!

Although this didn't answer all of my questions, thanks again.

anon53760
Post 203

this is okay but put more pictures on it and words that people can understand better or try to explian it!!

anon53562
Post 201

thanks four this website. it saved my butt a lot.

I have this report on this stuff due tomorrow and at the last minute. so thanks a lot for this website!

anon53471
Post 200

this will help my grade a lot. thanks

anon53181
Post 198

You do rock! I totally needed this for a review!

anon53095
Post 196

this article was so helpful on a cell comparison worksheet.

anon52655
Post 190

This page was a great way for me to find the difference between the plant and animal cells. When I typed in my question this page came up and it answered my question by the third paragraph. In conclusion this web page was the best for looking up the differences between plant and animal cells. Maine

anon52572
Post 189

Thanks. i needed this site for my test review. you rock. thanks. :):):):)

anon52570
Post 188

Thanks a bunch! This is going to help me so much on my science test in a couple of days. I had such an easier time doing my homework with it!

anon52532
Post 187

Thanks mate! Helped a lot with science homework!

anon52475
Post 185

thanks a lot. this was a great help for my test (in 2 days).

anon52306
Post 184

thanks. this helped me for a science sheet!

anon52187
Post 181

this hepled my with my assigment, thanks :)

anon51786
Post 178

thanks a lot!

anon51424
Post 175

i have a huge test tomorrow and this site helped so much. thanks. Whoever wrote this information earns a round of applause.

anon50989
Post 173

thanks a lot. it all actually makes perefect sense -- even better then my own professor. thanks man.

anon50907
Post 172

thanks for the help mate.

anon50594
Post 171

Thanks a lot! This helped me so much on my lab report!

anon50180
Post 167

this site was extremely helpful and i can't thank you enough! We were doing it in science class but i didn't understand one thing! Thank you so much! Can you write about how the endoplasmic reticulum and lysosomes work?

anon49842
Post 165

i suggest is better if the differences and similarities of both both plants and animal cell are presented in a tabular form for easy understanding. Thank you.

anon49693
Post 163

Gee guys thanks loads! i understood a lot more and i got S on my lab report and passed my test. all thanks to you!! i told my friends about this site. hope you don't mind, eh? Thanks loads and love you! xoxo Julia

anon49631
Post 162

This helps a lot with my homework. =)

anon49626
Post 161

Thanks so much this totally helped with my science report on cells! i am definitely going to look this website more often!

anon49475
Post 158

thanks for your help! you guys are great geeks (in a good way).

anon49463
Post 157

i finished my science with this. thanks now time to play some online games :D

anon49314
Post 155

was a retard at science. :) now a genius. ;)

anon48920
Post 153

thanks a lot to who ever did this. it helped me on my science notes becasue i forgot my book in class.

anon48912
Post 152

Thanks so much. this article helped my in my biology homework. I know i will get an a+.

jackiemarie
Post 150

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this article. it has totally gotten me the best grades in a class I was previously slacking off in: science. :)

anon48705
Post 149

this is a great web site. thanks a lot.

anon48596
Post 148

Thank you so much! I finished my homework!thanks a lot!=)

anon48534
Post 147

thanks for this. i got an a on my science project.

anon48312
Post 146

Thanks man, helps with my science at school.

anon48019
Post 145

Thank you so much! "Now i can see clearly now the rain is gone!":) Ha! isn't that funny! O.K. Seriously thanks. Whoever came up with this website is a genius!

anon47853
Post 144

Thanks so much. this helped with my bio lab a lot.

anon47838
Post 143

this helped so much with my biology report!thanks! it was cool to learn something new!

anon47739
Post 140

-anon5137, why don't you go your own biology research. jeez... i know you have a book, why not try looking up the answers yourself!

anon47098
Post 137

It helped me a lot to answer my question.

anon46871
Post 136

Animal: yes or no--Plant: yes or no. Cell membrane: Cell wall: Chloroplast: Chromatin: Cytoplasm: Endoplasmic reticulum: Gogli Bodies: Lysosomes: Mitochondrion: Nuclues: Nuclear membrane: Nucleolus: Ribosome: Vacuole:

anon46845
Post 135

i need one more difference.

anon46759
Post 134

thank you but i need a little more, more of the similarities. but over all this helped. I'm going to have a beautiful project!:)

anon46331
Post 131

this helped a lot. thanks very much.

anon45950
Post 127

Thanks for your work. it was really helpful in clarifying things for me!

anon45935
Post 126

thank you.

anon45750
Post 125

Thanks so much! This helped a lot with my Venn Diagram homework. Great article!

anon45683
Post 124

Thank you *so* much! this helped me a lot with my science homework, and my teacher was really happy. thanks! :)

anon45496
Post 123

thanks for helping me with my homework.

anon45431
Post 122

Thanks a lot! This helps me for my science homework!

anon45380
Post 121

awesome!

anon45348
Post 120

this is awesome, man. i love it. it makes my homework easy and understandable. thanks a lot!

anon44659
Post 118

this web site really helped me with my homework and it's due by friday but now all i need to do is find pictures of plant cells and animal cells. if you know where i can find it post it on here and yes i will be reading but have it before friday because that's when my work is due. Thanks :)

anon43894
Post 117

thnks a lot dudes. this info will help me a lot in my homework.

anon43296
Post 116

this is the best article i ever found so far. it helped me get an A on my test because i was studying. thank you to this website!

anon43115
Post 115

Thanks. This helped me a lot. i have an essay on cells due tomorrow- you like saved me! thanks a lot.

anon43077
Post 114

great site. Thanks for the help. just put pictures on there please. it would be easier.

anon43075
Post 113

thanks. I needed this, but please add pictures.

anon42827
Post 112

My new site for homework help! Definitely! Thank so much. I mean, if this didn't pop up on the internet, I'd be flipping through my stupid textbook. Thanks so much!

anon41752
Post 110

this is a cool article but it is supposed to contain pictures. You guys should look into it

or i'll stop looking into this website any more.

anon41733
Post 109

thanks for the help. i've got an exam that counts big tomorrow and i lost my notes on this. :-/

anon40660
Post 108

because of this, i guess i'm going to get a really *big* score in my bio practical exam tomorrow. thank you so much to those who posted this article! -saihayista-

anon39607
Post 104

this article is very useful and helpful. i'm glad there's something like this but i really sure hope there will be at least a summary of it under the article!

anon39476
Post 103

thanks a lot for you to give information about many things

anon38883
Post 99

thanks a lot for the answer. It helped me a lot.

anon36207
Post 96

Explain the reasons for their similiarities and differences

anon36138
Post 95

I didnt have a credit card that most sites asked for but this article was free & this helped me a lot to make my bio presentation.

THANK YOU!

anon34532
Post 91

wow! this it brill! it helped me loads, i would definitely recommend it to my friends, however i do think the frog was a tad irrelevant as it is an amphibian i do not like these creatures.

anon34323
Post 90

*Thank you!!*

I didn't feel like looking through a thousand pages of my extremely boring biology text book.

anon26557
Post 80

what is the difference between plant and animal mitochondrion?

anon25599
Post 79

this made my life soo much easier. Thank you !!

anon25588
Post 78

oh my gosh! this website helped me tremendously. thank you sooo sooo much :)

anon25214
Post 76

omg thanks this helped me on my 9th grade finals study guide for biology.

anon23123
Post 75

Lots of help on my semester study guide for my 10th grade biology class, thanx a lot.

anon23103
Post 74

have you got a simplified answer for my class. I teach children who are 12-13 years old

anon22543
Post 71

Oh my gosh, thank you! I LOVED THIS :)

anon22464
Post 70

thanks for having such an easy to understand page i needed it for biology =)

anon22250
Post 69

Thanx for this article!!!! I still have questions. What organelles do animal cells have and plant cells don't and vice versa?

Brad14
Post 66

Both animal and plant cells have some similar structural elements. First off they are both eukaryotic, which means they have a defined nucleus. The nucleus contains chromosomes. It is protected and surrounded by the cytoplasm, which is a watery or gel-like liquid. Further, animal and plant cells have a cell membrane that surrounds the cell. This allows for the cell to exert control, in most cases, over what can penetrate the cell, and what cannot.

Brad14
Post 64

Is the plant cell bigger than the animal cell? Or is the animal cell bigger than the plant cell? of Course the animal cell is bigger u should read more often dude because they kind of Answered in the essay info.

Brad14
Post 57

this helped me so much with my science i could not have done better.

anon21868
Post 56

hi this is forshay thank you so much because this really helped me with my project. me and my cousin canesha was trying to search google and couldn't find anything but then we went to ask.com and they recommended this website and we had gotten a lot of information and my cousin was saying that my teacher was going to say this was a lot of information for just a 7th grader.

anon21422
Post 54

thank you so much! this helped me with homework

anon21360
Post 52

thanks it helped me a lot!

anon21137
Post 51

Thanks for this!! It helped a lot! =]

anon20830
Post 50

what about ribosomes? do both plant and animal cells have ribosomes?

anon20793
Post 49

THanks a lot! Helped with my lab.

anon20542
Post 46

my comment to you people who work for the website wisegeek are so cool you helped me on my homework but you also helped me finish it so i could study for this huge science test on monday. Thanks again, a fellow fan. See ya!!!!

anon20383
Post 45

Both plant and animal cells have cell membranes. Plant cells have a cell wall and a cell membrane, animal cells do not have a cell wall.

anon19803
Post 38

there are only 3 differences : huge vaucole in plant compare to tiny vacuoles in animal cell and plants cell has cholorplast, cell wall which animal cell dont have!

anon19608
Post 35

Oh em g!!1

Thank you so much this helped a lot!

<333

anon18909
Post 31

THANKS FOR THE HELP! i hope i do well now in my science lab :)

anon18799
Post 29

Thank u, I needed that information for school. Helped me lots!

anon18730
Post 27

Thanks it was a great help.

anon18372
Post 23

another difference could be that of mitotic divisions. animal cells divide by forming a cleavage furrow, and plant cells divide after a cell plate is formed, which enables the cells to form 2 daughter cell walls

anon18075
Post 21

Are there anymore differences between the two cells?

I need 8 and so far I only have 5.

anon12021
Post 18

What are the parts that animal cells have, yet plant cells dont, and vise-versa???

anon11788
Post 16

soooo which is biger, the plant cell or animal cell...

anon9746
Post 14

omg we are doing a venn diagram and you have to tell the differences and similarities and i got A+ that's an improvement for me you helped me soooooooooooooooo much i will go to you next time i need help!!!!!!!!!!! I usually get an A. actually i have all A because of this website i memorized it. it's www.wisegeek.com

anon9519
Post 13

So are plant cells bigger or animal cells?

anon7403
Post 12

Hey, you guys have helped me sooooooo much, for my science project. the information I need I got it from you and didn't have to go any other sites thank you.

anon6605
Post 8

Thank you sooooo much! My science teacher gave me homework over Winter Break, and my first instinct was to go to my science book, but I left it at school! So this site helped sooooo much!

anon6209
Post 7

The cells DO vary in size - because the plant cells have one large vacuole, which is filled with liquid, it is larger than the animal cells. Animal cells have many small vacuoles which are scattered throughout the cell. I believe that about 90% of the plant cell is consumed by the vacuole.

anon6184
Post 6

too scientific???? that makes no sense. Unless you presented it in a way that it seemed like you didn't know what you were talking about and you had just copied things you didn't understand.

anon6175
Post 5

Man, THANK YOU! Youre saving me so much cause i have a huge test on cells tomorrow and i really needed this. Thanks again

anon6123
Post 4

grr...thank you for this, but i got a B on my homework because my teacher said it was too "scientific"

anon5305
Post 2

i guess they must vary in size. this helped a lot with my homework!

anon5137
Post 1

Is the plant cell bigger than the animal cell? Or is the animal cell bigger than the plant cell?

(Discussions on this page are currently closed.)