Pellet poo

Does it also have anything to with the animal eating its own poo toget the most from it?

Maybe Soupy poo as Cecil so delicately put it is more prone to leaching whereas pelletsmore permanent?

Personally, I’m disappointed there’s no illustration for this article!

Also, enjoy this link:


I was hoping the answer would tell us, not only how an animal defacated strings of small pellets, but why.

Presumably there is an evolutionary advantage at work here, or some reason for some animals to produce pellets while others ‘operate differently’?

Well not to cast dispersions, but I’ve got my reservations about part of SDStaff Doug’s reply to the question.

“The anal sphincter also play an important role–probably even more important than the rectum, in general. In essence, animals like rabbits have an anal sphincter that opens and closes quickly and rhythmically, leading to a fairly uniform shape and size of the resulting pellets”

Without being gross, if that’s possible in a thread like this, I grew up on a farm that raised goats. And goats are one of the pellet pooping critters named. But I can tell you, when the…er…urge strikes them, the sphincter doesn’t do the little open-close-open-close operation Doug described. The sphincter (I just realized I don’t like typing that word) opens and it is like pouring out a bag of marbles.

Just an observation, not sure why I decided to share this, but since it is already typed out I might as well click submit.

why is there a difference between the male and female poop? I used to hunt, and while it was too long ago to remember for sure which is which (finally, evidence that the brain does indeed eliminate unused knowledge, except of course for Leo Sayer lyrics), I know that one gender tends to poop out its pellets in a scatter (!) style, and one poops out pellets that are distinguishable, but lumped together. I assume it’s, errr… anatomical differences, but how and why exactly do those differences manifest themselves in poo? I’m looking forward to reading an answer and leaving this string behind me.

Thanks rainy. I was going to mention that as well, except with elk instead of goats.

As for as evolutionary advantages go, I guess I would throw out the loose (!) generality that animal feces are often used for communication (identification, territory marking, etc). That might account for some of the gender-based differences.

We’ve got some new and fairly new posters, so welcome, all!

… and please note, this was a Staff Report, not a column by Cecil.

So could a Yoga Master with complete muscle control duplicate this feat?

rainy, I agree with you. In fact, I suspect that the sphincter has nothing to do with it.

I dissected a rat on Tuesday for a biology lab. The pellets were already fully formed by the time they reached the rectum. At the time, I guessed it was because each pellet represented a lump of waste that passed peristaltically through the colon. As the colon extracted water, the pellet would tend to firm up.

That’s just a guess; my lab book has nothing to say on the matter.

All I can say is that SD Staff Doug gets the shitty jobs.

I’ve seen that also, in(side) rabbits. I think it’s not a stretch to assume pellet poop has nothing to do with the anus sphincter at all.

We discussed this in a GQ thread some time back, without coming to much of a conclusion. I especially recommend this link to pictures of animal scat from within that thread. (This is one time when you can tell me that my cite is full of shit and I’ll take it as a compliment.)

I agree with Mogadon; I won’t feel like this is answered until we have some explication of the evolutionary pros and cons of pelletized feces. I’m not sure if pelletization relates to frequency of defecation. There must be some sort of trade-off involved in how often an animal defecates. Every defecation distracts the animal and gives away its scent, causing vulnerability to predators. But carrying too much crap around in your intestine can’t be healthy either–it slows you down, and, well, . . . it’s uncomfortable!

Maybe pelletization facilitates water retention. But then deer typically live in fairly wet areas, where that shouldn’t be a problem. We just don’t have all the answers yet.

Doug is checking his sources again, and we’ll get back to y’all on this one.