Tales From the Tail End

Animals have some interesting ways to deal with their waste. Chinstrap and Adélie penguins like to keep clean. So, they shoot their poop far away from their bodies. Some animals mark their territory with their waste. Hippos spin their tails like propellers. This spreads their poop over a wide area.

Naked mole rats roll in their poop. This marks them as a member of their clan.

Adélie penguin

keeps tidy

sends a message


Sending a Message

Peccary poop is a kind of message board. These wild pigs from South America tend to poop in a big pile. Each time a peccary goes, it sniffs the pile to find out what’s going on.

Giant river otters also send a message. The message is: Stay away! These otters live in big family groups in rivers in South America. They have places where all the otters poop. The stinky mess keeps other animals away.

Dung beetles in Africa roll balls of dung. They eat part of it. They lay eggs in it. When the babies are born, they have an instant food source.

Turkey vultures poop on their own legs and feet. This cools them off.

feeds the family

dung beetle

cools off

turkey vulture

Better Out Than In?

Why do some animals eat poop? Some animals can’t get enough nourishment from their food the first time they eat it. So, they eat it twice by eating their own poop.

There’s another reason, too. Koalas eat eucalyptus leaves. These are hard to digest. Special microbes in their stomachs help break down this food. They make it easier for koalas to eat. Baby koalas don’t have these microbes. So, the mother feeds the baby some of her poop. That helps microbes grow in the baby’s stomach. Now that you know more about poop, you may never think of it the same way again! 

feeds the baby