The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-19-2011, 07:40 PM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
How is it rabbits crap little round pellets.

Do they roll the vegetation in balls when eating? Does the stomach or intestines ball it up. Do they have a magical butt? Why are rabbit pellets (smart pills) so spherical.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 05-19-2011, 09:47 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tysons Corner, VA, USA
Posts: 9,796
I was just wondering the same thing about my guinea pig, and also deer. Human waste tends to look more or less extruded, reflecting the shape of the large intestine. But these other animals shit little very regular-shaped pellets of one size or another.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-19-2011, 10:22 PM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
You just know they do this, but never wonder how.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-19-2011, 10:56 PM
Blake Blake is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 10,207
The pellets are formed in the large intestine. There's no great secret to it. The intestines of all animals move the mass along by a series of contraction waves in the gut walls. In the case of animals like rabbits and sheep a lot of water is extracted during the process and the mass becomes ever smaller. Because it is also very fibrous the contraction waves pinch the ever decreasing mass into pellets.

It's probably easier to visualise if you look at the diagram.

Humans don't do this because our food isn't particularly fibrous and we aren't very good at extracting water from faeces, so the mass remains semi-liquid.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-19-2011, 11:02 PM
Blake Blake is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 10,207
As to why they are spherical, it's because the sphere is the default shape formed when you roll something along a tube. Animals like horses and sheep also produce round pellets, but because they get jammed together in the rectum before being released they become distorted. Rabbits release their pellets continuously as they pass down the tract, so they never become squashed and remain round.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-19-2011, 11:27 PM
rhubarbarin rhubarbarin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Nitpick: in the morning, rabbits poop clusters of soft tiny round poop (cecotropes). Then they eat them. They they poop firm fibrous round poop the rest of the day. Rabbits are weird.

The Master speaks. In short, it has to do with the colon, the rectum, and the sphincter working in concert to produce neatly-formed feces. Not so much with the diet of the animal - most pellet poopers are high-fiber herbivores, but many high-fiber herbivores have unformed, soft, or even near-liquid poop.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-19-2011, 11:30 PM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Thanks.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-19-2011, 11:42 PM
Tabby_Cat Tabby_Cat is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: No Gum Here
Posts: 2,309
My cat pretty much poops spheres too, they're just jammed up in a long string but you can clearly tell they're spheres jammed up into a string.

Come to think of it, you can tell human poop is made of little rounded pellets jammed up too. But damn if I'm going to google for pics.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05-20-2011, 12:18 AM
rhubarbarin rhubarbarin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
My poop isn't pelleted and never has been. See the Bristol Stool Scale - there's lots of ways for us to poop.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-20-2011, 12:50 AM
Blake Blake is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 10,207
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tabby_Cat View Post
My cat pretty much poops spheres too, they're just jammed up in a long string but you can clearly tell they're spheres jammed up into a string.
But cat dung definitely isn't a long string of spheres. The carnivore gut doesn't work that way.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05-20-2011, 11:03 AM
Duckster Duckster is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 12,974
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhubarbarin View Post
My poop isn't pelleted and never has been. See the Bristol Stool Scale - there's lots of ways for us to poop.
Never underestimate the power of the SDMB. You can find any kind of shit here.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05-20-2011, 11:10 AM
DCnDC DCnDC is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
You think that's strange, believe it or not wombat poop is square (or cubical, roughly, to be more exact).
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05-20-2011, 12:12 PM
psychonaut psychonaut is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
I asked a similar question some time ago; here's the thread.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 05-20-2011, 12:46 PM
Superfluous Parentheses Superfluous Parentheses is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
You think that's strange, believe it or not wombat poop is square (or cubical, roughly, to be more exact).
Best fact of the day.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 05-20-2011, 02:10 PM
anson2995 anson2995 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 2,720
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious Discord View Post
Do they have a magical butt?
Yes. Yes, they do.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 05-20-2011, 06:19 PM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by anson2995 View Post
Yes. Yes, they do.
Now I'm thinking of the Trix rabbit with a magical butt.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 05-20-2011, 08:37 PM
Smeghead Smeghead is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Silly rabbit - shits are for kids!
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:37 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.