Why do animals eat each others' faeces?

  • 5 Replies
  • 4599 Views

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

*

Offline damiri

  • First timers
  • *
  • 7
  • Armchair Scientist
    • View Profile
Why do animals eat each others' faeces?
« on: 21/12/2009 18:30:03 »
Donna Morehead asked the Naked Scientists:
   
I want to know, why do animals like to eat feces? My dogs simply cannot resist the lure of the catbox, and one of them will actually eat the other dog's fecal matter, or, somehow more horrifyingly, his own!!! Do other animals do this, why on Earth would they do it, and importantly, how do we stop them? Yuck!

Love the show, I hope you can answer my yucky question!

Donna in Colorado, USA.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 21/12/2009 18:30:03 by _system »
Unseen, in the background, Fate was slipping the lead into the boxing glove. - P.G. Wodehouse

Twitter me: Damiri

*

Offline LeeE

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • 3382
    • View Profile
    • Spatial
Why do animals eat each others' faeces?
« Reply #1 on: 22/12/2009 23:16:54 »
The digestive systems of most animals is less efficient than our own and as a consequence their faeces often still have some nutritional value.  I doubt that your dogs actually 'like' to eat the faeces, insofar as the dogs think they taste good, but your dogs apparently seem to believe that the pros outweigh the cons.
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!

*

Offline neilep

  • Withdrawnmist
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • 20602
    • View Profile
Why do animals eat each others' faeces?
« Reply #2 on: 23/12/2009 00:40:57 »
...as a firm believer in empirical data................erhmm...............not this time !
Men are the same as women, just inside out !

*

Offline Karen W.

  • Moderator
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *****
  • 31660
  • "come fly with me"
    • View Profile
Why do animals eat each others' faeces?
« Reply #3 on: 23/12/2009 04:30:54 »
YAYYYYYYY!!!!!!!

Hey Thats a very good question and I wonder about that myself and wonder if it has anything to do with territory!

My dogs do it too.. I have never had a dog that didn"t.. also they eat The regurgitation of another dog and human...YUCKY!

"Life is not measured by the number of Breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

*

Offline Don_1

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • 6890
  • A stupid comment for every occasion.
    • View Profile
    • Knight Light Haulage
Why do animals eat each others' faeces?
« Reply #4 on: 30/12/2009 13:18:47 »
As Lee wrote, some animals fecal matter may still contain some nutrition. It is not uncommon for some species, such as rabbits, to send their food through the digestive tract twice in order to extract all the nutrition.

My question is, why is sheepy reluctant to give it a try? He's usually so obliging in such matters!
If brains were made of dynamite, I wouldn't have enough to blow my nose.

*

Offline RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • 8169
    • View Profile
Why do animals eat each others' faeces?
« Reply #5 on: 30/12/2009 14:45:55 »
Quote
Young elephants, pandas, koalas, and hippos eat the feces of their mother to obtain the bacteria required to properly digest vegetation found on the savanna and in the jungle. When they are born, their intestines do not contain these bacteria (they are completely sterile). Without them, they would be unable to obtain any nutritional value from plants. Gorillas eat their own feces and the feces of other gorillas. Similar behavior has also been observed among Chimpanzees.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coprophagia


Also see ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fecal_bacteriotherapy
« Last Edit: 30/12/2009 14:54:29 by RD »