FEB 07, 2018 06:30 PM PST

Study Finds All Sorts of Garbage in Seagulls' Stomachs

Seagulls aren’t particularly picky eaters; they frequently loiter around dumps and landfills in search of tasty treats residing in our trash. Sadly, many seagulls consume more than just edible food, and it could be detrimental to their health.

Seagulls will eat just about anything, and that's not exactly a good thing...

Image Credit: Pixabay

Researchers wanted to learn more about seagulls’ potentially-hazardous feasting habits, so they studied the birds’ stomach contents in search of answers and published their findings in the journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.

The in-depth analysis involving the birds’ stomachs exposed traces of food packaging materials like plastic, rubber, and Styrofoam, but it didn’t end there. The researchers also found bits and pieces of glass and metal, among other things that shouldn’t exist in an animal’s stomach.

An example of the junk found in seagulls' stomachs throughout the study.

Image Credit: Sahar Seif

“You would find pieces of cutlery or aluminum foil or rubber bands and even a cheese wrapper that you could read,” explained study co-author Sahar Seif from Carleton University in Canada. “There’s a lot of emphasis on plastic.”

Related: This seagull turned orange... but why?

As it would seem, the seagulls’ perennial quest to forage through humankind’s garbage in search of food probably does more harm than good. On the brighter side of things, seagulls can regurgitate non-digestible materials, but this means they could be eating more trash than the study led on.

Not all animals have this ability, so other animals with similar foraging habits could be worse off than seagulls are. These materials, when ingested, have been linked to life-threatening health issues down the line, and that doesn’t paint a pretty picture for wildlife.

“If we’re able to see such large numbers in gulls, we can infer that there is definitely way more plastic out there that other animals are ingesting,” Seif continued.

Related: This beached whale had a stomach full of plastic bags

The study underscores the need for smarter trash disposal methods and more environmentally-friendly materials. While there isn’t much we can do to reverse existing environmental impacts, we can still do better in the future to promote a healthier world for everyone – people and animals alike.

Source: Popular Science

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.
You May Also Like
AUG 15, 2018
AUG 15, 2018
Bees Know What Zero Means
There is much concern over the dwindling population of honey bees. They are needed for pollination and for ecosystems to stay in balance, but soon research...
AUG 27, 2018
AUG 27, 2018
Why Do Turtles Live So Long?
Why do turtles live so long? Apparently, it may have something to do with a slow metabolism which means that turtles need fewer calories than other animals...
SEP 05, 2018
Earth & The Environment
SEP 05, 2018
Climate change increases prevalence of parasites among livestock
A warming climate will ultimately favor some species over others. One such species is a parasite called the liver fluke, which infects livestock with a dis...
SEP 24, 2018
Plants & Animals
SEP 24, 2018
All-Female Termite Colonies Observed for the First Time
In the case of most animal species, it takes both a male and a female for reproduction to take place. But a few exceptions to this rule do indeed exist, pa...
OCT 17, 2018
Plants & Animals
OCT 17, 2018
Will Vaquitas Get Another Chance to Rebound?
Native to the Gulf of California, the vaquita (Phocoena sinus) is one of the most elusive porpoises alive today. Not only does the International Union for...
OCT 22, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
OCT 22, 2018
Duplication Events in the Genome Drive Evolution
The majority of plants that grow in the wild and on farms have undergone some kind of duplication event in their genomes....
Loading Comments...