Coprophagia is the consumption of feces, from the Greek copros (feces) and phagein (eat). Many animal species have evolved to practice coprophagia; other species do not normally consume feces but may do so under unusual conditions. Only in rare cases is it practiced by humans.

Evolved coprophagia

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Two Common Blue butterflies feed on a small lump of feces lying on a rock.

Coprophagous insects consume and redigest the feces of large animals; these feces contain substantial amounts of semi-digested food. (Herbivore digestive systems are especially inefficient.) The most famous feces-eating insect is dung-beetle and the most ubiquitous being the fly.

Pigs are most commonly associated with eating not only their own dung, but those of other animals and humans.

Rabbits, cavies (guinea pigs) and related species do not have the complicated ruminant digestive system. Instead they extract more nutrition from grass by giving their food a second pass through the gut. Soft caecal pellets of partially digested food are excreted and generally consumed immediately. They also produce normal droppings, which are not eaten.

Young elephants, pandas, koalas, and hippos eat the feces of their mother to obtain the necessary bacteria for the proper digestion of the vegetation found on the savannah and in the jungle. When they are born, their intestines do not contain these bacteria (they are completely sterile). Without them, they would be unable to get any nutritional value from plants.

Gorillas eat their own feces and the feces of other gorillas.

Hamsters eat their own droppings; this is thought to be a source of vitamins B and K, produced by bacteria in the gut. Apes have been observed eating horse feces for the salt. Monkeys have been observed to eat elephant feces.

Theories on dogs

Coprophagia is a behavior sometimes observed by dog owners. Hofmeister, Cumming, and Dhein (2001) wrote that this behavior in dogs has not been well-researched, and are currently preparing a study. In a preliminary paper, they write that there are various hypotheses for this, although none have been proven:
  • To get attention from their owners.
  • From anxiety, stress, or having been punished for bad behaviors.
  • They had been punished for having defecated in the past, and attempt to clean up out of fear to be punished again.
  • From boredom.
  • In an attempt to clean up in crowded conditions.
  • When dogs observe their owners picking up feces, and imitate this behavior (allelomimetic behavior). This is highly improbable because the behaviour has also been observed in environments where owners never picked up the dog's (or other) feces.
  • Because puppies taste everything and discover that feces are edible and, perhaps, tasty, especially when fed a high fat content diet.
  • Because dogs are, by nature, scavengers, and this is within the range of scavenger behavior.
  • To prevent the scent from attracting predators, especially mother dogs eating their offspring's feces.
  • Because the texture and temperature of fresh feces approximates that of regurgitated food, which is how canine mothers in the wild would provide solid food.
  • Because of the protein content of the feces (particularly cat feces), or over-feeding, leading to large concentrations of undigested matter in the feces.
  • Due to assorted health problems, including:
  • Pancreatitis
  • Intestinal infections
  • Food allergies, creating mal-absorption
  • Because they are hungry, such as when eating routines are changed, food is withheld, or nutrients are not properly absorbed.
  • Carnivores may sometimes eat or roll in the feces of their prey to ingest and exude scents which camouflage their own.
The most obvious reason--desperate hunger--is rarely considered.

Some veterinarians recommend putting meat tenderizer in dogfood, since this makes the feces taste excessively bad to dogs. Several companies produce food additives that can also be added to the animal's food to make feces taste bad.

Due to the attraction of dogs to their feces, a popular Chinese idiom goes "A dog cannot change its habit of eating feces", which usually refers to a habit that is hard to correct.


Coprophagia is extremely uncommon in humans. It is generally thought to be the result of the paraphilia known as coprophilia, although it is only diagnosable in extreme cases where it disturbs one's functioning. From the medical literature, coprophagia has been observed in a small number of patients with dementia, schizophrenia[1] and depression[2]. Consuming other people's feces carries the risk of contracting diseases spread through fecal matter, such as hepatitis. Hepatitis A, Hepatitis E, pneumonia, and influenza. Vaccinations are generally recommended for those who engage in this practice. Similar risk can apply to related sexual practices, such as anilingus or inserting an object into the mouth that has recently been in the anus (see ass to mouth). The practice of coprophagia in humans is also depicted in a handful of motion pictures. For examples see section Coprophagia in motion pictures below.

Lewin (2001) reports that "... consumption of fresh, warm camel feces has been recommended by Bedouins as a remedy for bacterial dysentery; its efficacy (probably attributable to the antibiotic subtilisin from Bacillus subtilis) was confirmed by German soldiers in Africa during World War II."

Coprophagia is also depicted in porn sometimes.

Coprophagia in motion pictures

  • Pier Paolo Pasolini's Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma: A young woman is forced to eat the feces of the Duke; later, the other victims are presented with a giant meal of human feces (the "feces" were created with chocolate sauce and orange marmalade)
  • : Fat Bastard's feces is being studied by Basil Exposition, and Austin mistakenly thinks it is coffee, smells it and soon after takes a drink, commenting that "it's a bit nutty".
  • : Dave England is offered $200 to actually consume horse feces.
  • American Wedding (American Pie 3): Steve Stifler eats dog feces in an attempt to hide a wedding ring in the droppings from the mother of the bride, who mistakes the feces for a chocolate truffle.
  • When Cesar investigates the nonsense the mouse causes in the movie Mouse Hunt, he eats mouse feces to evaluate them; just to discover calcium deficiencies in the mouse's system.
  • Pink Flamingos: The drag queen Divine chews up and swallows real dog feces. (Ebert, Roger (1997-04-11). Pink Flamingos. Retrieved on 2007-08-16. “All the details of these events are shown in the film, including the notorious scene in which Divine actually ingests that least appetizing residue of the canine.)
  • : The main character, Ron Burgundy, eats a piece of cat feces, served to him in replacement of a steak by a restaurant because he spoke crudely about San Diego (This scene appears only in the unrated version of the film.)
  • : Eric Cartman's mom is seen on the internet in a German coprophagia porn film, where she is consuming a German man's feces. In the German version of the film she eats an English man's feces.
  • South Park Episode 1007 "Tsst": Supernanny Jo Frost is put into a mental state where all she does is cry and eat her own feces after attempting to improve Eric Cartman's behaviour
  • South ParkMr Hankey, The Christmas Poo - Just after the fight at the Christmas play, there is a fake live-action commercial for the "Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo Playset". It features a family of a mom, her son and two daughters. The mom uses a fish net to recover a piece of feces from their toilet, and they dress it up with clothes and accessories from the set. At the end of it, the baby eats it.
  • Vase de Noces: The farmer is shown making tea out of his own feces and urine.
  • Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead: Treat Williams' character Critical Bill describes the feces he ate for U$500 while in prison as "spongy."
  • The Power of One: Morgan Freeman's inmate character, Geel Piet, was forced by the prisoner guard to eat horse feces.
  • The Acid House: Bob's parents describe eating feces as part of their sado-masochistic sexual relationship.
  • The X-Files season 3 episode "War of the Coprophages: The episode relates the story of a cockroach invasion and contains a number of feces-related jokes.
  • The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover: In the opening scene to the film, restaurant owner Albert strips an associate and forces him to eat dog feces.
  • Epic Movie: In the scene when the four orphenes visit Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, Eddie starts drinking from a chocolate river and pulls a large piece of chocolate and takes a bite of it later to find out that he was actually drinking from a cess pool, obviously making the piece of chocolate a turd.
  • The Ladies' Man: In the scene in the bar where Tim Meadows and Rocky Carroll engage in a contest in which they eat pickled eggs and hog balls among other things, the last thing consumed by Rocky Carroll's character Cyrus Cunningham is a turd, as explained by John Witherspoon's character by saying quickly, "You just ate some shit!"
  • : Bill Engvall shares anecdotes about his family dogs including his dog Duke, a basset hound, who eats his own turds, and Bill's wife is unaware of this because she loves to let the dog lick her in the face.

Coprophagia in literature

  • In Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs, there is an insane coprophage.
  • In Thomas Pynchon's 1973 novel Gravity's Rainbow there is another case of coprophagia.
  • In The 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade, many of the characters practice coprophagia.
  • In Life of Pi, Pi Patel attempts to eat tiger excrement in order to survive while stranded in a lifeboat. He however, realizes the lack of nutritional value in the feces.
  • In Timbuktu by Paul Auster, the main character consumes his own feces after ingesting large quantities of illegal drugs.
  • In It (novel) by Stephen King, Pennywise, disguised as an old woman, serves Beverly a cup of tea which is actually human excrement.

See also


  • Lewin, Ralph A. (2001). ""More on Merde"". Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 44 (4): 594-607.  PMID 11600805
  • Hofmeister, Erik, Melinda Cumming, and Cheryl Dhein (2001). "Owner Documentation of Coprophagia in the Canine". . Accessed November 17, 2005.
  • Wise, T.N., and R.L. Goldberg (1995). ""Escalation of a fetish: coprophagia in a nonpsychotic adult of normal intelligence"". J. Sex Marital Ther. 21 (4): 272-5.  PMID 8789509

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Feces, faeces, or fæces (see spelling differences) is a waste product from an animal's digestive tract expelled through the anus (or cloaca) during defecation. The word faeces is the plural of the Latin word fæx meaning "dregs".
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Feces, faeces, or fæces (see spelling differences) is a waste product from an animal's digestive tract expelled through the anus (or cloaca) during defecation. The word faeces is the plural of the Latin word fæx meaning "dregs".
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Herbivory is a form of predation in which an organism known as an herbivore, consumes principally autotrophs[1] such as plants, algae and photosynthesizing bacteria.
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Dung beetles are those beetles which feed partly or exclusively on feces. All of these species belong to the superfamily Scarabaeoidea; most of them to the subfamilies Scarabaeinae and Aphodiinae of the family Scarabaeidae.
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Linnaeus, 1758


Nematocera (includes Eudiptera)

True flies are insects of the Order Diptera (Greek: di = two, and pteron
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Linnaeus, 1758


Sus barbatus
Sus bucculentus†
Sus cebifrons
Sus celebensis
Sus domestica
Sus falconeri†
Sus heureni

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Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, found in several parts of the world. There are seven different genera in the family classified as rabbits, including the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), cottontail rabbit (genus
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C. porcellus

Binomial name
Cavia porcellus
(Erxleben, 1777)

Mus porcellus
Cavia cobaya
Cavia anolaimae
Cavia cutleri
Cavia leucopyga
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A ruminant is any animal that digests its food in two steps, first by eating the raw material and regurgitating a semi-digested form known as cud,
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Cecotropes (also "caecotrophes") also known as "night faeces", are the product of the cecum, a part of the digestive system in mammals of the order lagomorpha, which includes two families: Leporidae (hares and rabbits), and Ochotonidae (pikas).
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Gray, 1821

  • See Classification
The elephants (Elephantidae) are a family in the order Proboscidea in the class Mammalia.
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Species: H. amphibius

Binomial name
Hippopotamus amphibius
Linnaeus, 1758[1]

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In anatomy, the intestine is the segment of the alimentary canal extending from the stomach to the anus and, in humans and other mammals, consists of two segments, the small intestine and the large intestine.
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Genus: Gorilla
I. Geoffroy, 1852

Type species
Troglodytes gorilla
Savage, 1847

distribution of Gorilla


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Fischer de Waldheim, 1817


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A vitamin is a nutrient that is an organic compound required in tiny amounts for essential metabolic reactions in a living organism.[1] The term vitamin
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Ape or APE may also refer to:
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  • Ape, Latvia, a town in Latvia, northwest of Alūksne
  • A*P*E, a 1976 film

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H.O.R.S.E. is a form of poker commonly played at the high stakes tables of casinos. It consists of rounds of play cycling among:
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  • Omaha eight or better,
  • Razz,
  • Seven card Stud, and
  • Seven card stud E

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Salt is a mineral essential for animal life, composed primarily of sodium chloride. Salt for human consumption is produced in different forms: unrefined salt (such as sea salt), refined salt (table salt), and iodized salt.
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monkey is any member of either the New World monkeys or Old World monkeys, two of the three groupings of simian primates, the third group being the apes. The New World monkeys are classified within the parvorder Platyrrhini, whereas the Old World monkeys (superfamily
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C. l. familiaris

Trinomial name
Canis lupus familiaris
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is a domestic subspecies of the wolf, a mammal of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora.
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meat tenderizer can refer to a tool or a chemical used for tenderizing meat.

The tool is also known as a meat mallet, and is a product used for tenderizing slabs of meat in preparation for cooking the meat.
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Paraphilia (in Greek para παρά = besides and -philia φιλία = love)—in psychology and sexology, is a term that describes a family of persistent, intense fantasies, aberrant urges, or behaviors involving sexual
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Coprophilia (from Greek κόπρος, kópros - excrement and φιλία, filía - liking, fondness), also called scat,[1] is the paraphilia involving sexual pleasure from feces.
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Human feces (also faeces — see spelling differences), also known as stools, vary significantly in appearance, depending on the state of the whole digestive system, influenced by diet and health. Normally they are semisolid, with mucus coating.
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Classification & external resources

Alcoholic hepatitis evident by fatty change, cell necrosis, Mallory bodies
ICD-10 K 75.9
ICD-9 573.3

DiseasesDB 20061

MeSH D006505 Hepatitis (plural hepatitides
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Hepatitis A
Classification & external resources

ICD-10 B 15. -
ICD-9 070.1

DiseasesDB 5757
MedlinePlus 000278
eMedicine med/991   ped/977
MeSH D006506

Hepatitis A virus

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Hepatitis E virus

Hepatitis E is an acute viral hepatitis (liver inflammation) caused by infection with a virus called hepatitis E virus (HEV). Infection with this virus was first documented in 1955 during an outbreak in New Delhi, India.
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