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Feces is really important for some animals. It can help them survive in their environment, heal sickness, and gives some young a good start in life!

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Feces is usually the end result of the nutritional equation of an animal's diet. However, it can also be the beginning.

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I'm a fan of learning lots of interesting facts about feces, because almost every single animal poops. And knowing what's normal and what's not normal about an animal's poop is important in caring for them. For example, some animals eat their own poop.

Consuming feces is called coprophagia, and it's completely normal and essential for some species. Rabbits, for example, need to eat their own poop to get all the nutrient for a fully functional digestive tract. When a rabbit eats plants and starts digesting them, it enters a section of the intestines that contains symbiotic bacteria that begin to break down the food. This process produces certain vitamin Bs and makes the rest of the nutrients more readily available. This specially processed material is then pooped out in a soft batch of feces, called cecotrophes.

The cecotrophes are then consumed by the rabbit for a second pass through their digestive system to absorb all the nutrients made possible by the first time through. If a rabbit gets sick, it's important to offer them the cecotrophes of a healthy rabbit in order to get them back on track. And baby rabbits will eat the cecotrophes of their mother to make sure they get the nutrients for a good start in life.

And rabbits aren't the only ones who eat their parents' poo. Others include termites, hippopotamuses, rats, koalas, and Guinea pigs. Elephant and giant panda babies need to eat their mothers' poop in order to get the bacteria needed to break down the tough and fibrous vegetation that's available in their environment.

So, coprophagia is pretty cool, but it's not just about animals that eat their own poo, it also includes animals that eat other species' feces too. A lot of the dirt that you encounter every day is also part of the coprophagia mania. Decomposers, or detritivores, consume organic waste materials as a part of their every day diets. Animals like worms, millipedes, and cockroaches munch on deceased plants and animals, and also poop. Other organisms like fungi and bacteria can also join in on the fun, because there are plenty of leftover nutrients in feces that decomposers can use for their daily food requirements. And it's not just good for them, it's good for everyone else, too.

Imagine a world without decomposers. Go ahead, take a moment. Hmm, endless piles of poop. *shudders* Luckily, decomposers clean it all up for us. And when they cycle the waste through their digestive tract and eventually poop, their feces creates soil rich in nutrients, so they're now readily available for plants to absorb-which then recycle the nutrients to feed more organisms, including humans. So thanks, decomposers!

But remember, coprophagia isn't good for all species. Adult dogs and cats should not be regularly consuming feces because it could also contain harmful bacteria. If your dog is eating poop, I suggest you consult your veterinarian to form a plan of action.

Thanks for watching this episode and getting to know how interesting and necessary coprophagia is for some species. If you'd like to continue learning awesome things about animals, you can go on an adventure with us every week by subscribing to our YouTube channel, Animal Wonders Montana. You can also find me sharing random thoughts and things I'm doing on Twitter @Animal_Wonders. Bye Guys.

[Closing Theme]

(In video preview) 
Now, sadly, some animals may never even know what their feces even looks like, or they don't care, because once it leaves their body, it holds no more use for them.