• Question: why does the camel eat stuff and then throwup what he ate and then eat it again?

    Asked by rubaty to Angela, Gabriele, Karen, Shane on 20 Nov 2013.
    • Photo: Karen McCarthy

      Karen McCarthy answered on 20 Nov 2013:

      Ah yes, vomit and poo eating! My dog used to do this sometimes when he was a puppy, if he was nervous!

      Coprophagia is the technical word, for animals eating their own poo, or vomit aswell. There are a few different reasons why animals might do this.

      1. To reabsorb some nutrients or protein that weren’t absorbed the first time – cat poo has a lot of protein in it.

      2. Worms or another intestinal infection – if an animal has a gut infection it may be lacking energy or nutrients, so connected to point 1 – if may then eat its vomit or poo.

      3. Some animals do this in order to mush up food, which they then feed to their little babies.

    • Photo: Shane Mc Guinness

      Shane Mc Guinness answered on 20 Nov 2013:

      Also some animals get sick to scare away predators. Some scientists think that this is why some people literally get sick when they get too scared, as we had originally evolved to scare predators away from us! I’d certainly leave the cinema if someone did that behind me!

      Karen, I don’t think eating their own vomit is coprophagia. Just poo.

    • Photo: Angela Stevenson

      Angela Stevenson answered on 21 Nov 2013:

      Camels eat hay and grasses that contain a lot of cellulose. This is very hard to digest so they rarely get much nutrients from the first round of digestion. Vomiting and pooing their food releases some of the nutrients, so by eating this regurgitated or pooed material, they gain additional nutrients that they couldn’t obtain the first time around. Great question again Rubaty 🙂