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Coprophagy in the Rabbit


COPROPHAGY in the rabbit was discussed in NATURE (1939) under the title "Does the Rabbit Chew the Cud?" and the early observations of Morot (1882)1 were confirmed by Madsen2 and by Taylor3. These observations showed that two kinds of fæces were voided by the rabbit, the familiar dry pellet type during the day and a soft mucous type during the night, rarely observed because the animal collects them directly from the anus and swallows them again. Madsen suggested that the difference in the two types was due to an intestinal rhythm in the rabbit itself and that refection was a normal physiological process in this animal. Taylor, on the evidence of coccidial oocysts found in the stomach and of experimental feeding with lycopodium spores, agreed with Madsen and emphasized the necessity for recognition of this peculiar attribute of the rabbit in the correct interpretation of parasitological and physiological work in which this animal is employed. In the latter connexion he cited specific experiments of mine on the fate of ingested copper, some of the data of which may be more fully discussed.

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  1. Morot, Ch., Mém. Soc. centr. méd. vét., 12, Sér. 1 (1882).

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  2. Madsen, H., NATURE, 143, 981 (1939).

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  3. Taylor, E. L., NATURE, 143, 981 (1939).

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EDEN, A. Coprophagy in the Rabbit. Nature 145, 36–37 (1940).

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