Characteristics of Living and Non-Living Things: Living Things and Their Characteristics (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Living Things

  • Living things are those which are live and active.
  • All living things breathe, eat, grow, move, reproduce, and have senses.
  • They possess structures known as cells.
  • Cellular Respiration enables living organisms to acquire energy.
  • They exhibit movement or locomotion.
  • Metabolism is experienced by them which includes anabolic and catabolic reactions.
  • Few examples of living things are:
    • Birds, insects, animals, trees, human beings
  • Some other examples are like that of a Dog which need food, water, space, and shelter.
  • A tree or flower is a plant, and trees and flowers need air, nutrients, water, and sunlight.

Characteristic Features of Living Things

Characteristic Features of Living Things

They Exhibit Locomotory Motion

  • It is through specialized locomotory organs that the animals can move.
  • One of the best examples is that of an Earthworm which move through the soil surface through longitudinal and circular muscles.

Living Things Respire

  • Respiration occurs inside cells to release energy from the food.
  • Energy is released due to the food being ingested broken down during the process of digestion.
  • Transportation of gases also occurs.
  • Through excretion process, the digested food is eliminated from the body.
  • Living things are quite capable of producing offspring of their own.
    • The genetic information is passed from the parents to the offspring.
  • They could touch and the capability to sense changes.

Non-Living Things

  • A non-living thing means without life.
  • They lack the fundamental unit of life.
  • Some of the examples of non-living things are rocks, water, and air.
  • They do not have any life span at all.
  • As they do not require food and energy, so they do not respire at all.
  • They can be broken down or destroyed by the external forces.
  • Some other examples of non-living things are stone, pen, book, cycle, bottle, etc.

Characteristics of Non-Living Things

  • They are lifeless and do not have cells.
  • There are no metabolic activities due to absence of protoplasm and cells.
  • They do not have a definite and certain size of their own.
  • Non-living things grow by accretion.
  • There is an absence of fundamental life processes such as reproduction, nutrition; excretion, etc. are the features of non-living things.

Differences between Living and Non-Living Things

Living and Non-Living Things Difference
Living ThingsNon-Living Things
They can grow and develop.They cannot grow and develop.
They have a lifespan and are not immortal.They do not have lifespan and are immortal.
They can move from one place to another.They cannot move from one place to another.
Occurrence of metabolic reactions.There is no occurrence of metabolic reactions.
They respire and there is exchange of gases.They do not respire.
These are sensitive and responsive to stimuli.They are not sensitive and do not respond to stimuli.
Examples are Humans, animals, plants, insects, etc.Examples are Rock, pen, buildings, gadgets, etc.


Q 1. Are viruses living or Non-living things?


  • Viruses are non-living things.
  • They include proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and carbohydrates.
  • They will not be able to multiply without the cells.

Q 2. List out some of the characteristics of living things.


Some of the characteristics of living things are:

i) Eating

ii) Development

iii) Growth

iv) Breathing

v) Reproduction

Developed by: