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What are Parasites - Parasites Definition for Kids

Animals feed on other animals or plants or both.
But some small animals actually live on, or even in, the animals or plants from which they feed.
They eat small amounts of the living bodies of larger animals or plants, which also provide shelter for them. Animals that do this are called parasites. 
Some plants are parasites, too.
They grow on other plants and feed from them.
They don't make food for themselves as other plants do.
The animal or plant that parasites live on is called the host.

Animal parasites

Some animal parasites feed by sucking the blood of larger animals.
These blood-suckers include ticks, fleas, lice, and leeches. One of these parasites clings to the body of the host animal and bites into its skin. The parasite's body becomes swollen as it fills with blood. Fleas jump from one part of the host animal to another, sucking its blood.

Fleas live in clothes and on the bodies of humans, birds, and other animals. They suck the blood of a host animal.

Plant parasites

Many plants that are parasites, like dodder or rafflesia, don't have green leaves. And they don't have green stems like other plants. Other plants are green because they contain a green substance called chlorophyll. This absorbs the sunlight they need to make their food. Plants that grow and feed on other plants don't make their own food.

Fungi parasites

Some kinds of fungus are parasites. Fungi can grow on both plants and animals and can cause serious diseases. The fungi that grow on plants can sometimes spread very quickly and destroy important crops, such as wheat and potatoes.

The smallest parasites

Some bacteria are parasites that can cause disease.
They make animals ill when they invade their bodies. Even smaller than bacteria are parasites called viruses, which can also cause disease.
Unlike other organisms, viruses are not made up of cells.
They lack some of the substances needed to live on their own.
Viruses enter into the cells of other living things in order to obtain these substances and be able to live and reproduce.

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