What Does Shark Poop Look Like?

February 14, 2024

Sharks are one of the ocean’s top predators and they inspire fear, but also awe. Their hunting prowess and unique adaptations are incredibly impressive, but what about their digestive system? Do sharks poop, and what does it look like?

The answer is yes, and shark poop typically consists of broken down muscle and blood pigments mixed with green bile. The feces are eliminated into the water as a thick cloud that smaller fish and filter feeders, including corals can enjoy. The coloration of the feces depends on the depth of the water, but it’s typically a bright green.

Once the shark digests its food in its stomach it enters its spiral intestines and colon where waste is excreted. When it’s ready to be released this poop is expelled through the cloaca opening into the sea. This is where scuba divers get to see something truly special.

In a video filmed by Shark Reef TV, a Great White Shark named Lucy was seen to move its body in a S-shape while expelling its waste. This is believed to help the feces pass through its system. It’s not the first time this has been observed but it’s definitely something different.

Shark feces are valuable to scientists as they provide clues into what the shark has eaten, its feeding habitat, and stress levels. Researchers also use recovered intestinal cells in shark poop to study sex hormones and other things that can’t be gathered from the animal itself. They have even found microplastic waste in the feces of sharks, suggesting that it may be entering the ocean through their food chain.


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