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Jessi features four fun facts about feces and how some animals use their poop to help them survive.

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There's something interesting that happens when you care for many, many animals. You start paying attention to not only what goes into their bodies, but also what comes out. Paying attention to their feces (yes, their poop) is a great way to know the health of the animal at a glance.

So for many people that care for animals, talking about poop becomes as common as, "How's the weather?" and actually, though people around you might not agree, poop is a really interesting subject to talk about. So, let's talk about poop.

(Intro music)

Now, sadly, some animals may never even know what their feces looks like or they don't care because once it leaves their body, it holds no more use for them. But some awesome animals find their feces quite functional.

Fun Feces Fact #1: Pigeons and doves use their feces to help them build their nest.

Pigeon and dove parents begin by building a rudimentary nest out of sticks and grass, and then they lay two eggs. Once the chicks hatch, the nest gets pretty messy pretty fast because the chicks will poop right in and around the rim of the nest. The droppings harden and begin to build up, layer after layer.

These layers of poop actually add to the structure of the nest, making it sturdier, which gives the next set of chicks an even cozier home. Ah, a nice comfy nest made of dried, packed feces.

Fun Feces Fact #2: Some animals use poop to survive the winter.

Foxes will often save stashes of food in the summer to make sure they have enough to last the long winter months when food is scarce. This is called caching, and they don't just have one cache, they have many. In order to know where each cache is located once it's snowed, the fox will mark the spot with urine and feces. This way, they can smell the stink through the layers of snow and know exactly where to dig to get the leftovers.

Fun Feces Fact #3: Vultures poop on themselves to keep clean.

Vultures like to dine on animals that have already died, and the carcass is full of bacteria that could cause other animals to get sick. But vultures have two awesome adaptations that help prevent this. Vultures often don't have feathers on their head, and that's because they have to get right down into their food source and they don't want rotten meat and bacteria stuck to their head.

They also have to crawl inside, and they don't want it stuck to their legs either, so they poop on themselves. Bird droppings consist of uric acid and feces. Uric acid is so acidic that it can kill the bacteria. So while it's actually doing the sanitizing, the feces is along for the ride.

Fun Feces Fact #4: Wombats poop in cubes, and there's a really neat reason for it.

Wombats are solitary and only come together to mate, so to prevent fights from breaking out, wombats are quite particular about whose territory belongs to who. Wombats use their feces as territorial markers so they can let other wombats know exactly where their turf begins.

They patrol at night, walking over logs and rocks, leaving poop along the edges of their range. The flat sides of the square feces keeps them from falling off precarious places. And since wombats produce 80-100 cubes a day, poops that strayed from their intended position could cause a lot of confusion, and a lot of unhappy wombats.

Thanks for joining me. I hope you've learned to appreciate poop a little bit more. If you'd like to learn more about animals, join me on an adventure every week by subscribing to our YouTube channel AnimalWondersMontana. If you have any questions for me, you can leave them in the comments below, and I'll see you next week.