The Scoop on Poop!
The Science of What Animals Leave Behind
Jan. 27-May 6, 2018
$7.50 adults, ($6.50 Fla. residents & seniors), $5 ages 3-17, free to UF students & Museum members.
Poop is a scientific puzzle that provides important evidence about animals and how they live. Animals use poop to build homes, hide from enemies, attract mates, send messages and cool off–some even eat it. Discover the science behind scat by examining feces to reveal clues about wildlife. Listen to an animal’s digestive system, view 3-D models, touch a termite mound replica and compete in dung beetle races in this informational and interactive exhibit. Find out how scientists, farmers and power companies utilize pounds of droppings for investigative research. See highlights from the world’s largest private collection of fossilized poop and gator coprolites from the Museum’s collection.
- Poop Has Many Names
Visitors are invited to push buttons on a world map to learn the language of poop in countries around the world.
- A New Alternative
This 3-D model of a modern sewage digester comes to life with pumps and aerators to show an environmentally responsible way to deal with human waste.
Most kids have never seen an outhouse and this old-fashioned replica gives them a chance for an unusual photo opportunity.
- Worth Your Weight In…
African elephants are the biggest poopers of all land animals. Step on the scale to see how many hours (or minutes!) it takes an elephant to poop your body weight.
- Fecal Framework
This full-size, touchable replica of an African termite mound lets visitors explore how termites glue their houses together with their own dung.
- Muck Spreading
Activate a video recording of a bull hippopotamus broadcasting dung with his tail.
- Dung Boots
Watch a rhinoceros kick and stomp its dung so he can mark his territory with a trail of smelly footprints.
- Ins & Outs
Listen to a grizzly bear’s digestive tract and learn how food becomes poop.
- Fecal Fakers
See if you can spot animals that camouflage themselves by looking like bird droppings.
- Dung Beetle Race
See whose beetle is the fastest. Turn a rubber dung ball to move your beetle to the finish line.
- Beetles to the Rescue
Why aren’t we up to our eyeballs in dung? Activate this video clip to see a time-lapse recording of beetles cleaning up a dung pile.
- Who Dung It?
Animal scat is a great way to learn about the wild animals in your area. Learn to be a scat tracker by matching dung samples with the animals that made them.
- Diagnostic Doo
Check out the close-up world of dung through a veterinarian’s microscope. Can you see anything unusual?
- Touch a Coprolite
Dinosaurs left more than bones and teeth behind – some of their droppings were also preserved. Touch an 80-million-year-old fossilized turd.
- Fossil Feces
View several short interviews with a paleontologist who studies fossilized animal dung.
- Dangerous Droppings
This live animal display is a recreated section through the wall of a house showing how mice enter our homes and can live in our food cupboards.
- Buffalo Chip Courtship
Watch a video recording of sarus cranes performing a bizarre mating ritual. The male throws buffalo dung around to impress the female.
- A company in Indonesia makes gourmet coffee by collecting beans from the droppings of the palm civet. The coffee is said to have a rich, “musty” taste and sells for $175 per pound.
- Scientists can extract DNA from wild animal droppings to study population genetics, follow animal migrations and plan conservation strategies.
- Sloths live in cecropia trees and sleep 15 hours per day. About once a week, they climb down to the ground, dig a hole and carefully bury their droppings.
- Elephants eat tough, fibrous foods and most of it passes through their bodies undigested. An adult African elephant can produce up to 300 pounds of dung each day!
- Many animal noses put ours to shame. Foxes and other canines often deposit scat on high places in plain view. These scent posts let others know who the fox is, whether it’s a male or female and if it is ready to mate.
- There are more than 7,000 species of dung beetles and they’re found on every continent except Antarctica. Look around next time you’re in the woods – most parts of the United States have native dung beetles.
- Feces is full of clues about what’s going on inside an animal. It can reveal what an animal has been eating, how well it’s digesting its food, and whether there are parasites or other signs of disease.
- Many diseases can be spread through the digestive tract and people often get sick eating tiny bits of feces in contaminated food or water. Outbreaks of cholera have killed hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.
- Paleontologists have found dung beetle burrows in fossilized dinosaur poop. They must have had an enormous feast!
- Believe it or not, cow-pie tossing contests are popular events in parts of Oklahoma and Wisconsin. The record distance for a flying cow chip is over 185 feet – more than half the length of a football field!
- When an animal eats a piece of fruit, it often swallows seeds that pass through the intestine unharmed. Every time a fruit-eater poops, it drops seeds in a nutritious bundle of fertilizer and “plants” the next generation of trees.
- The accumulated droppings of Peruvian sea birds, called guano, have been used to enrich farmlands for at least 500 years. The supercharged fertilizer was so valuable that the Inca Empire guarded it and punished trespassers with death.
The Scoop on Poop! was created by Peeling Productions at Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland, Allenwood, PA.