MAY 28, 2017 8:28 AM PDT

Majority of Mammals Take About 12 Seconds to Defecate

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

No matter what kind of animal you are, chances are you’re going to have to poop at one point or another. After the body takes in food and it passes through the digestive system, the leftovers your body really didn’t need are ejected in the form of feces.

In a new study, published in the journal Soft Matter, researchers have officially calculated that it takes most mammals, no matter how big or small they are, approximately 12 seconds to defecate.

Despite the dog's priceless face in this photo mid-defecation, 12 seconds was probably the magic number in terms of how long it took.

Indeed, ranging from the smallest animals like cats and dogs, up to the largest elephants, the 12 second figure comes with a “give or take 7 seconds” string attached.

While most would blow this study off because of the topic and the connotations that come attached, the idea behind it was for the researchers to contribute to animal health by giving a baseline of what’s considered a normal defecation habit in the mammal world. This study may help clinicians recognize digestive ailments in animals non-invasively and more quickly.

Related: Good poop for good health

While studying animal defecation processes in a local zoo, they discovered that most mammals deposit a stool with a diameter dependent on the diameter of the rectum, which ranges from 4-40 centimeters. The length of the stool, on the other hand, is almost always double that of the rectum, suggesting that the colon in nearly all mammals acts as poo storage until they are ready to defecate.

Since larger mammals, such as elephants, would typically take longer to defecate based on the larger surface area and time needed to eject all of it, a thicker and more slippery mucus membrane in the stool helps facilitate the defecation process to keep them within the same ballpark of time as smaller mammals.

After collecting samples, they also noticed that most mammals produce a cylindrical-shaped stool despite some oddities which are round, and that animals produce, on average, two different stools during the defecation process.

The stool samples also revealed how the weights ranged from 4-4,000kg and that there were two kinds: those that float and those that sink – the former being more common in herbivores and the latter being more common in carnivores, as the animal’s diet plays a huge role in the fecal composition.

Related: Here's why runners get the sudden urge to poop

Warning: the accompanying video below shows actual footage of animal defecation:

So there you have it folks – 12 seconds, give or take a few, is the average amount of time it takes a mammal to drop a deuce. Since mammals include humans, you might want to take this figure into account for yourself. If you spend a seriously longer amount of time on the toilet expelling your stool, you should probably see a doctor.

Source: New Scientist

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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