There has been speculation on whether sharks’ poop or not. Well, the ocean is a pool of discovery. New things surface every time we spend in the underwater world. If sharks do poop, we will definitely find out.
So, Do Sharks Poop? Surely every living thing that has a digestive system always finds a way to excrete waste products from the body. There has been video proof of some sharks taking a poop. You should know that the method of excretion of waste from a shark’s system may vary according to the shark species.
Some sharks are filter feeders while some sharks love to hunt and feast on prey. As sharks pose different feeding habits, they also feed on different meals. Now the digestive system and excretion of these species vary too.
Let’s first understand the function of the digestive system of sharks.
The Digestive Tract of Sharks
Sharks have U-shaped stomachs; their stomachs can be considerably expandable. They swallow their food while my or they bite down into large pieces and swallow. Sharks stomach produce strong acids that can dissolve absolutely anything they eat.
Sharks’ intestine is short and compact and has a small opening. The surface area of the intestine can increase by internal valves and coils. It can take several forms. The increased area slowly allows food passage through the intestine. Food digestion is rapid and also absorbed into the blood.
The large bones and indigestible materials are often regurgitated. Some sharks can force their stomach inside out through their mouth to get rid of indigestible materials. They can even wash their stomach in seawater before pulling them back to their normal location.
The liver is also part of the sharks’ alimentary canal. The liver plays a role in digestion because it is the means of nutrient absorption from the small intestine.
Sharks’ liver consists of two large lobes surrounding their digestive tract. In some sharks, their liver contributed to 30% of their body weight. The liver helps in storing fats and carbohydrates. It also releases sugar to the body when there is need for energy.
What Do Sharks Poop Look Like?
Feces can tell so much about what you eat amongst other things. Scientists analyze a fresh shark’s poop. They did so for clues about what it eats and other things. Some scientists developed tests that use sharks’ poop to study shark’s stress and sex hormones.
Sharks waste product contains residual DNA from intestinal cells. The sharks’ poop appears yellow but Dove suspects the seawater is actually misleading the account of the color. Dove said that the sharks’ poop is actually closer to green color. See video
Dove also specified that the composition of poop includes the combinations of the breakdown of blood and muscles in the sharks’ food. Green colored bile is responsible for the breaking down of the food substance. The yellowish color is the bilirubin. It forms in the blood after the red blood cell breaks down. Thus, traveling through the liver, gallbladder, and digestive tract before excretion. The excretion can be through urine or poop. See video
Do Sharks Pee While Pooping?
No! Sharks don’t pee.
Sharks’ urine is absorbed in their flesh and removed through their skin. The salt concentration of the body tissue fluid is less than half of that surrounding the water. This proves that there is a tendency of sharks discharging water from their gills, through osmosis.
Sharks retain urea, a waste product of food produced by the liver. This helps them avoid dehydration when in saltwater areas.
Do Sharks Fart?
Surprisingly, sharks do fart. Sometimes, when at the surface of the water, they gulp air. The air then comes into their body and is emitted through their cloaca.
A cloaca is an opening that serves as a urinary, digestive, and reproductive tract. In sharks, the opening is located on the ventral surface between the pelvis fins.
It also serves as a reproductive organ in sharks. In male sharks, it is the claspers. The claspers come in pair. In a female, it is the cloaca.
How Big Is A Whale Sharks’ Poop?
Alistair Dove is an aquarium zoologist who studies the Whale shark. He worked hard to capture the feces of whale sharks believing it to be a research treasure.
A firsthand observer of the whale shark defecation and colleague of Dove suggested that they barely digest their food. Hence, the poop comes out looking like the food they just ate. Thus, the size of the whale shark’s poop would be almost the same as the food eaten.
Researchers believe that the poop performs an important oceanography role by concentrating surface nutrients and delivering them to the water column and seafloor. A baleen whale is another sea animal also thought to perform such oceanography tasks too.
What Does a Megalodon Sharks Poop Look Like?
In South Carolina, researchers believe that this giant fish left behind a stone poop. Hundreds of teeth were found in the scene in South Carolina close to what’s been identified as the coprolites (a.k.a fossil feces) of a large-bodied shark.
It wasn’t scientifically proven but the maker of the poop is probably a megalodon shark. The biggest recovered poop in the site is about 5.5 inches and spiral-shaped. The great white shark poop has a similar appearance because their lower intestines have a corkscrew-like twist configuration.
Are Sharks Attracted to Poop?
Sharks have nostrils but cannot breathe with them. However, they have a distinctive sense of smell and can smell absolutely anything in the water.
In as much as blood excites and attracts sharks. Human poop contains some blood vessels. This can be from the breakdown of food substances in the body with the help of hemoglobin (red blood cells).
It can also be from varieties of diseases, bleeding in the stomach (ulcer), hemorrhoid, gastrointestinal diseases, etc. More so, it can have other causes without underlying diseases such as obstructed defecation.
This is to say that human poop and sewage waste channeled to the oceans do attract sharks. The combination of blood and other components of poop can actually attract sharks.
Do Sharks Eat Poop?
Coprolites are known as fossilized poop. Paleontologists have discussed a coprolite with a giant teeth Mark on it. The studies relate that they were likely products of the Physogaleus or a Galeocerdo, ancient extinct sharks related to the modern Tiger Shark.
There has been no documentation that sharks are poop eaters. If actually, the ancient shark were trying to eat poop, don’t you think they’d have succeeded? A coprolite was found bitten but not eaten. It’s something to deliberate upon.
Why was a shark biting poop? Brian Switek a science blogger, researchers from Maryland’s Calvert Marine Museum, and the American Institutes for Research. Source. They brought forth a theory.
The pattern of the bite on the coprolite and the fact that the feces were not ingested came to the theory that the marks were made during an attack on another animal. Interesting right? Yes! Well, the shark either bit through the body wall or, bit the intestine after disemboweling its prey. Such an attack left the teeth marks on the feces which was excreted afterward. In this case, the shark chose not to eat the feces and moved out of the site.
Sharks Feeding Habits.
Sharks feed on many things. Mostly, it depends on the type of shark in question and the availability of food. Some sharks are filter feeders. Sharks can eat fish, sea lions, plankton, mollusks, crustaceans, rays, dolphins, sea turtles, squids.
Some sharks feed on other sharks. Some feed on garbage and wastes. One time, the stomach of a shark contained a vehicle license plate. This is to say that sharks basically feed on anything they can find in the ocean.
Furthermore, the filter feeders feed mostly on plankton (like krill). Then the bottom feeders; they hang put on the bottom of the ocean and pick up preys with their upper jaws.
There are actually some sharks that are unique feeders. Take for example; the Cookiecutter shark auctions itself to large fishes, even whales. They bite out a piece of flesh to eat. Also, the nurse shark uses its big lips to suck out hiding prey from their holes. A cavity of their throat generates powerful suction to suck out poor animals into the nurse shark’s mouth.
Are Humans Part of Shark’s Meal?
Sharks attack humans. Meanwhile, the number of shark attacks and fatalities says it all. Certainly, sharks bite humans, but most times it’s definitely not for feeding purposes.
Sharks attack humans out of curiosity. The things that attract them can be a flashy swimsuit, flashy jewelry, or even open wounds. When these sea predators are attracted, they will come to take a look and might as well take a bite. When they realize it’s off their food chain, they spit it out and swim away.
Sharks do take a poop. Of course, they eat like every living thing and they will always find a way to excrete their waste.