THE POWER OF POOP

EV­ERY­BODY POOPS. BUT DID YOU KNOW THAT SOME AN­I­MALS’ POOP IS USE­FUL? SOME WILDLIFE USE POOP FOR PRO­TEC­TION. OTH­ERS ARE SAV­ING THE PLANET WITH THEIR POOP. THAT’S SOME POW­ER­FUL POOP IF YOU ASK US!

Wild - - FEATURE STORIES -

KEEP THE PLANET COOL

All the dam­age hu­mans have done on the en­vi­ron­ment has made the Earth warmer and that’s bad news for us and the an­i­mals that live here. Luck­ily, some of Canada’s birds are fight­ing back. Their weapon? Poo. That’s right! Some of Canada’s seabirds, like puffins and terns, are work­ing to cool down the Arc­tic with their poop. Here’s how it works. These birds love to chow down on fish and fish are jam packed with a chem­i­cal called ni­tro­gen. When the birds poop they re­lease am­mo­nia (a gas) into the air that helps to cool the Arc­tic.

COOL OFF

Some birds, like the Amer­i­can Robin, take nice baths to cool off. Other birds, like the Turkey Vul­ture, poop on them­selves. It might not be the clean­li­est of op­tions, but it cer­tainly seems to get the job done! When Turkey Vul­tures poop on their own legs, they bring down their body tem­per­a­ture — pretty im­por­tant when you’re liv­ing in a hot climate. Some sci­en­tists be­lieve that the poop can dis­in­fect their legs from the yucky bac­te­ria they may have picked up while scav­eng­ing for road kill.

STAY SAFE

You’re pretty vul­ner­a­ble when you’re a cater­pil­lar. That’s why some cater­pil­lars have come up with a cre­ative way to de­fend them­selves from preda­tors. When cater­pil­lars defe­cate (poop) they throw it as far away from them­selves as pos­si­ble. It’s ac­tu­ally pretty im­pres­sive. They can fling their poop up to 40 times their body length! When a preda­tor, like a wasp, goes look­ing for tasty cater­pil­lars to snack on, they make a bee line to the ex­cre­ment (the poop). It’s the proof that a cater­pil­lar should be close by. You can only imag­ine their con­fu­sion when they start look­ing around and can’t find a cater­pil­lar. Pretty smart, if you ask me!

PRO­TECT HOME BASE

Wild cats like to keep their home base top se­cret to pro­tect them from other cats or preda­tors. One of the main ways they can do that is by bury­ing their fe­ces (poop). Bob­cats and Canada Lynx will hide it by cov­er­ing if up with snow, leaves or dirt. How­ever, some­times wild cats want to claim a ter­ri­tory as their own. They do this by leav­ing their fe­ces un­cov­ered at the edge of their range as a warn­ing to other wild cats to think again be­fore tres­pass­ing.

HEALTHY GUT

Did you know rab­bits have two dif­fer­ent kinds of poop? One kind look like pel­lets — it’s hard and dry; the other is soft and is called ce­cotrope. Try say­ing that one out loud! It’s pro­nounced “seek-a-trope.” Now guess what they use it for. Eat­ing. Yup. They eat this poop (usu­ally at night time) but they do it for very good rea­son. When they’re young, they rely on their par­ents’ ce­cotrope to cre­ate a healthy sys­tem in their gut. With­out it, they just won’t be very healthy. When they grow up, they keep their gut healthy by eat­ing their own ce­cotrope. Grossed out yet?

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