Bats Have Sparkly Poop

Bats eat a lot of bugs — up to two-thirds of their body weight in insects daily for some species. There’s an unexpected side effect of all that insect eating, though. Bat scat is described as “sparkling with insect exoskeletons.” Generally the words “sparkling” and “feces” aren’t found together, unless you have a toddler that’s gotten into a jar of glitter.

It’s a diet of insects that puts the shine in bat guano. Insects’ exoskeletons, or hard outer coverings, are made of chitin. Chitin is chemically a lot like plant cellulose; it’s difficult to digest, and passes through a gut relatively unchanged. If you eat a lot of shiny insects, you are going to produce Twinkle Turds.

Exoskeletons are a chitinous candy bar wrapper around a delicious protein meal. It’s not uncommon for birds to shuck off insect wings and legs before consuming an insect snack. Insectivorous bats, however, chew everything up and the exoskeleton comes out the other end as shiny stools. (Fruit- and seed-eating bats have “splatty” feces with no gleam.) (Read more)

Source: Wired

2 months ago 215 notes