Guest post

Five Fantastic Faeces Facts

Five Fantastic Faeces Facts. (5 minute read, just for laughs)
by Jungle Jo

Yes that’s right, I’m going to talk about poop. Some of you may find it a bit disgusting and others like me chuckle about it. I’m surrounded by it every day with my animals and children so to do my job I need a crazy sense of humour. Like it or not poop is really interesting and super important for the planet. There are several names such as dung, frass, guano, droppings, pats, manure, pellets, scat, dodo, number 2’s etc. dozens to choose from. It all depends on the animal its structure, shape and what the animal eats. Whatever you want to call it here are some cool facts for you to chuckle about.

1. Animals eat poop including humans. Animals can eat it to hide the scent of their babies from other animals such as wolves eating their pups poop. Some animals like rabbits will poop a soft nutritional pellet overnight and eat it. So actually eat their own poop (imagine that). The first time they ate it, their digestion hasn’t completely absorbed all the nutrients so they don’t waste it; they just eat it a second time round. Cockroaches, worms and millipedes eat other animal poop which cleans up the planet but then they will poo an amazing fertiliser which in turn grows our fruits, trees and veg. Of course the dung beetle is the most famous poop eater of them all. Thank you very much poo eaters you rock.

Humans can use poop in our food products the most expensive coffee in the world has been eaten and excreted through a civet cat. There are drinks such as beer and even green tea which benefit from faeces. Finally shellac is the excretion from an insect which we use to coat many of those tasty crunchy coated sweets which we all love. Yummy…

2. Animals and humans can use poop to make houses. There are several species which can use other animals’ faeces to make a home or nest. Birds are great at using herbivorous animals poop. It has a great fibrous structure and dries solid. Using poop for your house can repel other animals; it can be shaped into many different structures both small and large. It can work as a great insulator. It can also become a wind block and rain proof once smoothed and finished off with a coating of your own dribble. Humans have used animal excrement for thousands of years. Normally horse or cow manure mixed with urine, hair, mud and straw. It has protected us from all of the elements and many countries still use it to this day. Remember that it’s super strong and thankfully over time the odour becomes weaker. Just remember to not light a match.

3. “Poo with a purpose” or a “very important poo” (VIP). Here I am backing up the point I make on the video. Spiders are not everybody’s best friend but I love them and own 4 tarantulas. Their poo is absolutely awesome. They do not poop like we do. Every living thing, plant and animal, as we know must eat and excrete. The spiders and tarantulas of this world are the perfect recyclers. They eat and then their excretion is their venom and their WEB. Yes their web is their poop. It is completely recycled into a liquid protein silk which they can use for their houses, to catch their prey, to dance on and generally show off their skills in remarkable patterns and orbs. If their web breaks they can eat the broken web to recycle it and remake their web again. They can poop a tiny silk pellet which they leave in their webs, if they don’t catch any more food they will eat the silk pellet to make more web. Oh my goodness, it amazes me. The Madagascan bark spider is smaller than your thumb nail and can throw its first single thread of web downwind 25 meters across. Spider silk, poo, web whatever you want to call it is super strong and super fantastic.

4. The shape of poo (Ed Sheeran would be proud. lol) It comes in all shapes and sizes. Different colour, texture and scent but it all has a meaning and purpose for being that way. If it’s not as it should be then we know that something is wrong. Being an animal handler means that it can tell me how my animal health is. If something is not quite right with the poop then your animal is literally “down in the dumps” pun intended.
We can identify the animal by its shape. We can tell what it has been eating or even if it’s still in the area and if it’s a predator or prey. The main fact here is this, everyone always wants to know. Is it a cat, dog or fox that’s going in my garden? Who is the culprit? Well here’s the answer, Fox poo twists and tapers at the end. Happy identifying everyone.

5. Poop benefits the Earth. I’ve mentioned many reasons for the importance of poop. Here are just a few points to finish off.
Animals can hide in it. They can make houses, decorations and gifts for their partners with it.
It works for insulation or cooling effects. It can be used as a facemask to purify the skin. It fertilises the planet layer over layer to keep our plants growing. Bats spread seeds around through their guano helping to germinate new forests. Some animals cover themselves in a predator poo so other animals think they are the predator and stay away. Apes throw it as a weapon and can literally poo on cue. Hippos spray it all over the place to mark their territory and impress their girlfriends. They will spray it 10 meters away so stand well back.

However you look at it or try not to talk about it and laugh like the children do. Poop is fantastic stuff and without it our crops wouldn’t grow as well. Animals wouldn’t be able to find shelter and the planet wouldn’t be as interesting or diverse as it is today. So in my eyes I will raise a glass of apple juice and toast to the amazing world and say “poop I salute you, thank you for all you dodo”.

Thanks for reading! Jungle Jo

Watch Jungle Jo on (aka Joanne Frisby) on Early Years TV for free from 31st January to 7th February. Premium Members have full access from 31st January onwards.

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