Not to be confused with excretion.
Cyclosia papilionaris consuming bird droppings
Feces, faeces, or fæces (see spelling differences), also known as excrement, is a waste product from an animal's digestive tract expelled through the anus or cloaca during a process called defecation. Contents [hide]
3 Human feces
7 Social implications
8 Animal feces
10 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
The word faeces is the plural of the Latin word fæx meaning "dregs". There is no singular form in the English language, making it a plurale tantum. There are many colloquial terms for feces, of which some are considered profanity (such as shit) while others (such as poo, poop, number two, deuce, doodoo, dookie and doody) are not. Terms such as dung, scat, spoor and droppings are normally used to refer to animal feces. Stool is a common term normally used in reference to human feces. For example, in medicine to diagnose the presence or absence of a medical condition, a stool sample is sometimes requested for testing purposes. The term "stool" can also be used for that of non-human species. Ecology
The Cassowary disperses plant seeds via its feces.
Earthworm feces aid in provision of minerals and plant nutrients in an accessible form After an animal has digested eaten material, the remains of that material are expelled from its body as waste. Though it is lower in energy than the food it came from, feces may still contain a large amount of energy, often 50% of that of the original food. This means that of all food eaten, a significant amount of energy remains for the decomposers of ecosystems. Many organisms feed on feces, from bacteria to fungi to insects such as dung beetles, which can sense odors from long distances. Some may specialize in feces, while others may eat other foods as well. Feces serve not only as a basic food, but also a supplement to the usual diet of some animals. This is known as coprophagia, and occurs in various animal species such as young elephants eating their mother's feces to gain essential gut flora, or by other animals such as dogs, rabbits, and monkeys. Feces and urine, which reflect ultraviolet light, are important to raptors such as Kestrels, which are able to locate their prey by their middens and territorial markers. Seeds may also be found in feces. Animals that eat fruit are known as frugivores. The advantage for a plant in having fruit is that animals will eat the fruit and unknowingly disperse the seed in doing so. This mode of seed dispersal is highly successful, as seeds dispersed around the base of a plant are unlikely to succeed and are often subject to heavy predation. Provided the seed can withstand the pathway through the digestive system, it is not only likely to be far away from the parent plant, but is even provided with its own fertilizer. Organisms which subsist on dead organic matter or detritus are known as detritivores, and play an important role in ecosystems by recycling organic matter back into a simpler form which plants and other autotrophs may once again absorb. This cycling of matter is known as the biogeochemical cycle. To maintain nutrients in soil it is therefore important that feces return to the area from which they came, which is not always the case in human society where food may be transported from rural areas to urban populations and then feces disposed of into a river or sea. Human feces
Main article: Human feces
In humans, defecation may occur (depending on the individual and the circumstances) from once every two or three days to several times a day. Extensive hardening of the feces may cause prolonged interruption in the routine and is called constipation. Human fecal matter varies...