Have you ever wondered how an octopus poops? It’s not something we often think about, but it’s a fascinating topic. Octopuses are one of the most intelligent and intriguing creatures in the ocean, and their bodily functions are just as fascinating as their behaviour.
So how exactly do octopuses poop? Well, they have a unique way of getting rid of their waste. Let’s take a closer look.
How Do Octopuses Poop?
Octopuses have a single opening called a mantle that serves as their mouth and anus. Waste travels through the digestive system and exits the body through a funnel called a siphon located at the end of the mantle.
When octopuses need to poop, they use their powerful muscles to contract their mantle, which pushes the waste out through the siphon. The waste is expelled from the body in the form of thin, white strings of poop.
Octopuses cannot eat more food until they have pooped. This is because their digestive system cannot process new food until the waste has been eliminated.
What Does Octopus Poop Look Like?
If you’re wondering what octopus poop looks like, you’re not alone! Octopus droppings consist of skinny and long strings of white poop. They do not smell, which is a relief for those who may have been worried about the odour.
Observations show that in areas where octopuses appear to be eating more bivalves, like swimming scallops, the poop is whiter/paler in colour. In areas where they seem to eat more red rock crabs, the poop is various shades of red.
How Do Octopuses Digest Food?
When octopuses eat, their food goes through a complex digestive process. Here’s a breakdown of how it works:
- Mouth: Octopuses use their beak-like mouth to bite off pieces of food and break it down into smaller chunks.
- Salivary Glands: Octopuses have two pairs of salivary glands. One secretes digestive enzymes, which help break down the food, and the other secretes cephalotoxin, which immobilises the prey.
- Esophagus: The food then travels through the esophagus, which connects the mouth to the crop.
- Crop: The crop is used for storing food. This allows octopuses to eat large meals and digest them over a longer period of time.
- Stomach: After leaving the crop, the food enters the stomach. In the giant Pacific octopus, digestive enzymes are produced by the liver and introduced into the stomach through ducts. These enzymes cause the food to break down into small molecules that the blood absorbs and transports back to the liver.
- Intestines: The remaining waste then passes through the intestines, where nutrients are absorbed, and waste is prepared for excretion.
- Siphon: Finally, the waste leaves the octopus’s body through a funnel called a siphon. This is not the same as the mouth, which is only used for eating and drinking.