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Old 08-05-2005, 07:01 PM
marshmallow marshmallow is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
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Carnivores generally have much shorter digestive systems than herbivores. Digesting plant matter, especially grass, is difficult and requires a fairly complicated process. You can find a lot of sites on google if you use "gut" and "carnivore" or "herbivore."

I found thisthis site and it looks pretty good from what I can see. Some choice quotes:

Quote:
The first thing to note about the digestive system of all carnivores is that they are remarkably similar and they all function in exactly the same way. Although they will be of different lengths, because carnivorous animals come in different sizes, the overall length of carnivores' digestive tracts are rather short: about six times the length of the animal's body.
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The digestion of protein and fat, with little or no carbohydrate, in the carnivore's gut is remarkably efficient. Experiments which have measured the amounts of various nutrients eaten and compared these with the amounts passed in the animal's excreta have shown that a healthy animal loses no more than four percent of its fat intake and only a trace of the protein.
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The first major difference between the herbivore and the carnivore is the sheer amount of food the herbivore is forced to eat. While a carnivore can usually manage with one small meal a day, the herbivore must eat so much that it is continually eating and its stomach is never empty.
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The latter type are called ruminants because they 'ruminate' or chew a cud as part of their digestive process. A ruminant's stomach is complex, having four chambers. They also have a large caecum. Herbivores with simpler stomachs have a relatively larger caecum to help with digestion.
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As we all know, a sheep is a herbivore that eats grass. A woolly ball on legs on the outside, a sheep's inside is unbelievably complicated. (2) The total length of the sheep's digestive tract is about twenty-seven times as long as the animal's body length. This dimension is common to all herbivores.