Comparing the Digestive Systems of Animals

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Comparing the digestive systems of Animals Sophie Gaft (11) Biology Question 1: A Choose one animal from the list of carnivorous animals and one from the list of herbivorous animals. Compare the structural differences between the two digestive systems. Comparison of a rabbit and cat’s digestive system. Rabbit (Lepus curpaeums): Unlike a cat, a rabbit eats a wide variety of plant material. They can process and extract nutrients from many plants that are otherwise indigestible from other herbivores and omnivores. A rabbit’s digestive process, as with that of a cat, begins at the mouth. The front teeth of the rabbit—incisors—slice off pieces of plant matter. The food is passed to the back teeth—molars—where mechanical digestion is incorporated and the matter is chewed into smaller particles, and then digested. The rabbit has a large stomach for its body size enabling the fast eating of large amounts of plant material. In addition to the above mentioned, the rabbit has a large caecum, located where the small intestine and large intestine fuse. The gastrointestinal tract of a rabbit directs food into the caecum if needed for further breakdown. Any already digested materials do not go to the caecum, and instead move straight to the large intestine as waste. The fiber that makes up a large part of the rabbits diet is broken down in the caecum by microorganisms. Here, the matter becomes a digestible nutrient. This matter must then be moved through the digestive system one more time. The large intestine of a rabbit is very long and thin. Cecotropes, small round moist pellets, are produced by the rabbit’s caecum. The rabbit eats these as soon as they emerge. This is also an evident action in a multitude of other mammals—feces are ea... ... middle of paper ... ...ON IN A CARNIVOROUS DIET: Cat (Felis catus): A cat has a simple stomach, small caecum and a short gut. In a carnivorous animal, the stomach secretes digestive enzymes which harbor a very strong hydrochloric acid. In contrast to herbivores, a lot of the digestion of food occurs in the stomach of carnivores, rather than in caecum’s, which are sometimes not even found in carnivores. Food is then moved to the small intestine, which is the primary site of digestion by enzymes. Food continues to travel along the small intestine by peristalsis. To aid in the digestion of lipids—or fats—bile is secreted by the liver. It emulsifies—blends together— lipids and increases enzyme efficiency, and at the same time, it also increases surface area. The remnants are excreted via the rectum and anal sphincters after passing through the long intestine, which mainly reabsorbs water.
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