What are Some Differences Between Plant and Animal Cells?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

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

Plant cells have cell walls.
Plant cells have cell walls.

Both types of cells have some similar structural elements. First, 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, both types of 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.

Animal cells usually have multiple, small vacuoles.
Animal cells usually have multiple, small vacuoles.

One of the primary differences between animal and plant cells is that these have a cell wall made up of cellulose. This helps the cell 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.

Under a microscope, a plant cells have a more regular shape then animal cells.
Under a microscope, a plant cells have a more regular shape then animal cells.

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

Also plant cells, when viewed under a microscope, appear very different from animal cells 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, on the other hand, have small vacuoles and may have several. They never have the large single vacuole that takes up most of the space in plant cells. Plant cells often have a more regular shape when viewed under a microscope, while animal cells tend to vary greatly in appearance.

The differences between these cells is more complex, but the primary differences exist in the above-mentioned ways. To sum it up, both types of cells have a nucleus, a cytoplasm, and a cell membrane. A cell from a plant has 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 the animal versions.

Plant cells are larger than animals cells are are surrounded by a rigid cell wall.
Plant cells are larger than animals cells are are surrounded by a rigid cell wall.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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


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


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


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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:


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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.


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 you should read more often dude because they kind of Answered in the essay info.


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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.


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 don't have!


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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


Are there anymore differences between the two cells?

I need 8 and so far I only have 5.


What are the parts that animal cells have, yet plant cells don't, and vise-versa???


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


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So are plant cells bigger or animal cells?


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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.


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


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

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