Poop—"It" Happens

Oakland Zoo
October 9, 2018

Whatever word you use to describe it—poop, scat, dung, and so many more that we’re not going to say—“it” is fascinating and while it might be disgusting, it's also super useful! Here are #8 interesting things you probably didn't know about #2!

1. Bat poop is called "guano."

Sea birds also make guano and it turns out, guano creates fantastic fertilizer!

2. Otter dung is called “spraint.”

The word is derived from Old French espreintes, from espraindre meaning ‘squeeze out’. (Hey, it’s got to come out somehow!)

3. Elephants don’t have the most efficient digestive systems, and the proof is in the poop!

Elephant dung has so much leftover plant material in it, locals in places like Thailand and Sri Lanka use the poop to create “poo paper," building materials, and more. (Check out elephant poop paper in our gift shop!)

4. When nursing an orphaned baby wallaroo here at Oakland Zoo, vets discovered he had digestive issues.

We fed him “poop milkshakes”—a mixture of formula and actual poop from the other wallaroos—to ensure he got all the antibodies he needed for a happy healthy tummy. (He normally would have gotten these antibodies from his mother’s milk.) Hope we haven't spoiled chocolate shakes for you ;)

5. Research shows that chimps throwing poop is a sign of intelligence.

The concept of aiming and throwing is a very complex skill. WARNING: Don’t encourage this behavior -- you don’t want to be on the receiving end of this pitch.

6. Even though giraffes are large, their poop is quite small (about the size of a marble).

Like camels and goats, giraffes are ruminants and get every bit of nutrient out of their food, so what comes out is simply waste.

7. Lemurs are arborists and help grow new trees not by planting seeds, but by eating fruit and passing the seeds through their droppings.

Johnny Appleseeds with stripes!

8. Hyenas are carnivorous and not known to be picky eaters.

In fact, they eat so much bone in their diet, their scat often has a white, chalky color to it. Skeleton poop!