Why Do Some Animals Eat Poop?
Learn more about quokkas over on Animalogic:
Animals eat their own poop in order to gain extra access to nutrients or to microbes that help digest those nutrients.
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To learn more, start your googling with these keywords:
Coprophagy: Consuming feces
Allocoprophagy: Consuming others’ feces
Autocoprophagy: Consuming one’s own feces
Fecal microbiota transplant: A treatment for C. diff that involves transplanting feces from a healthy individual into a patient.
Cecotropes: Also known as night poops, these are the soft, shiny pellets that rabbits excrete and then consume.
Pap: A special substance produced by mother koalas that their babies feed on during the transition from drinking milk to eating eucalyptus leaves.
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Script Writer: David Goldenberg (@dgoldenberg)
Script Editor: Emily Elert (@eelert)
Video Illustrator: Ever Salazar (@eversalazar)
Video Director: David Goldenberg (@dgoldenberg)
Video Narrator: Emily Elert (@eelert)
With Contributions From: Henry Reich, Alex Reich, Kate Yoshida, Peter Reich
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Masi, S., and Brueur, T. (2018). Dialiumseed coprophagy in wild western gorillas: Multiple nutritional benefits and toxicity reduction hypotheses. American Journal of Primatology. 80:4 (e22752). Retrieved from:
Osawa, R. Blanshard, W. and Ocallaghan, P. (1993). Microbiological Studies of the Intestinal Microflora of the Koala, Phascolarctos-Cinereus .2. Pap, a Special Maternal Feces Consumed by Juvenile Koalas. Australian Journal of Zoology. 41(6): 611-620. Retrieved from:
Mack, A., and Druliner, G. (2003). A Non-Intrusive Method for Measuring Movements and Seed Dispersal in Cassowaries. Journal of Field Ornithology. 74:2 (193-196). Retrieved from:
Eckman, L. (2018). Personal communication. Professor of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, UCSD.
Suen, G. (2018). Personal communication. Assistant professor, Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Brogan, J. (2016). Everyone Poops. Some Animals Eat It. Why?. Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved from: