What Do Sharks Poop Look Like?

February 14, 2024

Ever seen a shark poop?

When a great white shark cruises by a group of scuba divers, it will often flail its tail and let out a cloud of green poop. The scene might be a bit shocking for swimmers, but it’s actually quite fascinating to observe.

The color of the poo varies depending on what a shark has recently eaten. Blood and muscle pigments from the shark’s food combine with green bile to create the green-blue color of the excrement. The feces also contain indigestible elements like bone and cartilage. As the poop reaches the surface, the shark’s natural buoyancy will push it into the water’s current, which helps to spread the nutrients throughout the sea.

Shark feces are also a great source of information about the animal’s diet. The remnants of DNA found in the excrement help scientists determine what a shark has been eating. In one case, a researcher analyzed the poop from a whale shark and determined that it mainly eats plankton and small fish.

Sharks digest their food in their stomachs, which contain a nutrient-rich soup. The slurry passes into the shark’s spiral intestine and colon, which is similar to ours. The feces are then pushed into the ocean via the cloaca opening when it’s ready to be released. Scientists have observed sharks wriggle when they defecate, as this will help them release their waste into the water with less force. This process is called gastric eversion.

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