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Klein bunny

Improve rabbit digestion - see Leech Ouroboros
  [vote for,

Rabbits currently eat their own faeces in order to give themselves a chance to digest everything in their food, unlike ruminants, which regurgitate it and chew it up or odd-toed ungulates, which seem just to have really long digestive tracts or something.

However, a rabbit could be spared this chore by taking the rectum and feeding it into the buccal cavity, which would also make its alimentary canal a non-orientable surface and, with appropriate connections in the enteric nervous system, set up a permanent ring of peristalsis. The rabbit should probably be provided with a colostomy which a human could use to empty it on a regular basis.

Now you may say this is icky, but rabbits are perfectly comfortable with eating their own droppings, and this could lead to a more efficient rabbit, which to be honest probably wouldn't bother the rabbit in the slightest. The main problem is how to protect it from intestinal obstruction without creating a maintenance problem or hygiene. It would also mean there were fewer droppings.

nineteenthly, Apr 05 2012


       "Earl, I heard a bang. Did you remember to empty the rabbit?"
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 05 2012

       "The rabbit has a charming face,
His private life is a disgrace,
I really cannot tell to you
The awful things that rabbits do ..."
8th of 7, Apr 05 2012

       //It would also mean there were fewer droppings.// If they currently eat their own, then how so? Or are you counting on the instinct persevering and them taking to eating the droppings of others?
mitxela, Apr 05 2012

       // eating the droppings of others? //   

       "Choking on one's own vomit ? Well, who would want to choke on someone else's ?"
8th of 7, Apr 05 2012

       Because they wouldn't miss any when they were eating them, and they would be manually removed by humans in their own poop bag like with dogs, [mitxela]. What i meant was, in the area they inhabit, hutch or freerange, fewer droppings would end up lying about, because they'd be cleared up, and it might even be cleaner. However, as [MB] pointed out, it would be quite important to empty them regularly although i think they'd stop eating before that happened and just die of paralytic ileus or start vomiting poo.
nineteenthly, Apr 05 2012

       A friend of mine claims that he was once hospitalized after an operation, because his intestinal peristalsis had started running the wrong way. I have no idea if that is possible, but it's a thought to contemplate.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 05 2012

       // it's a thought to contemplate //   

       No, it's not. Really. It isn't.   

8th of 7, Apr 05 2012

       //could lead to a more efficient rabbit// [+]   

       Be a bit more technically difficult, but could the rabbits also digest heterologous feces? If the bunnies were truly non-orientable they could be used in wastewater treatment plants as a sort of infinite septic tank into which any amount of sewage could be dumped without overflow. (Warning: NOT to be used in the same Universe as a Buchanan 4-D teapot extruder.)
mouseposture, Apr 05 2012

       Tandem rabbits ?   

       It depends how much nutrition is extracted by the rabbit on each pass through the digestive system. Theoretically, it should be possible to feed the output of one rabbit into the input of the next.   

       The first rabbit would of course require double the amount of food, and the second rabbit would spend its entire life eating the droppings of the first rabbit. But then, they're rabbits - who cares ?   

       // NOT to be used in the same Universe as a Buchanan 4-D teapot extruder. //   

       Ooops ... maybe we should have read the instruction booklet before using it.
8th of 7, Apr 05 2012

       Right. Each successive rabbit would need a longer gut, to extract nutrition from lower-grade input. So a chain of rabbits of increasing size. Like a triple expansion steam engine.
mouseposture, Apr 05 2012

       <Sir Bedemir>   

       "Oh.... Um, l - look, if we built this large wooden badger--"   

       </Sir Bedemir>
8th of 7, Apr 05 2012

       Just to clarify, rabbits only eat a special kind of 'first pass' faeces, which is soft and green (and they already approximate an auroborus configuration to do so). They do not eat the brown pellets that we usually see.
spidermother, Apr 05 2012

       How fastidious of them.
mouseposture, Apr 05 2012

       Also, they only eat their own feces, often getting it, as it were, 'straight from the tap'.   

       // a chain of rabbits of increasing size //   

       That can be arranged rather easily.
Alterother, Apr 05 2012

       There would presumably still be some nutritional value in the second lot of poo but it would probably only benefit the likes of detritivores or plants. I would like to think of a way to get the rabbit to sort its faeces inside its gastrointestinal tract.   

       [MB], so far as i know that would only be possible in the colon, where peristalsis is bidirectional. Vomiting involves reverse peristalsis i think, but not in the usual sustained, laid-back manner. Intestinal obstruction can lead to feculent vomiting due to extreme backup into the duodenum but is rare.   

       The mention of giant rabbits leaves me with no choice but to mention Dougal Dixon's 'After Man', with his vision of "rabbucks" replacing ungulates in the next few million years, pursued by giant predator rats.
nineteenthly, Apr 06 2012

       Why does this remind me of the human centipede? Pardon me, but I need to go wash my brain now.
RayfordSteele, Apr 06 2012

       Don't go that far; in your case, a quick rinse in warm water will be more than adequate …
8th of 7, Apr 06 2012

       Make sure it's isotonic.   

       It has similarities but also differences because our own physiology does not involve the consumption of stools whereas theirs does. Nevertheless, i could see my way clear to various lagomorphic topologies, for instance the spider bunny would be relatively OK.
nineteenthly, Apr 06 2012

       Much as I love the title, [-] unless you've managed to find a way that the last rabbit in the chain poops out diamonds.
FlyingToaster, Apr 06 2012

       OK: i hereby define a diamond as a high-purity crystal of carbon or the secondary excrement of a rabbit, and tie the value together - id est, the value of a diamond is the mean value of the two substances concerned. There's a minor technical difference between the two but that can be left to experts to consider and we needn't worry our pretty little heads about it.
nineteenthly, Apr 07 2012

       ...can't argue with that... bone withdrawn.
FlyingToaster, Apr 07 2012

       Having personally raised and eaten over 100 dee-licious, nuu-tritious rabbits, I think I can safely say I've seen everything that comes out of a bunny, and none of it in any way possesses gem-like qualities. Cottage cheese-like, yes, but not not gem-like.   

       // "Earl, I heard a bang. Did you remember to empty the rabbit?" //   

Alterother, Apr 07 2012

       Incinerate the turds and put them under sufficient pressure, and you'd have a diamond, methinks.
nineteenthly, Apr 07 2012

       "human caterpillar" - ick; making it out of bunnies does not improve the image.   

       Though I'm curious: are rabbits semi-ruminant?, ie: it takes two passes to digest a certain grade, or maybe an amount, of grass/whatever.
FlyingToaster, Apr 07 2012

       They are not ruminant, semi- or otherwise, but you are correct that they require enough water and fodder on a regular basis; otherwise gastric stasis sets in, which is irreversable and, well, awful. There's only one thing you can do about it.   

       The stuff rabbits 'produce' isn't rumin, which takes specialized digestive organs to produce. It's just poop they're not done with yet. Rabbits are coprophagic, but there's also another word for it that I can't remember right now.
Alterother, Apr 07 2012

       Caecotrophy, caecophagy or pseudorumination according to a certain notable online encyclopaedia. Also practiced by caviomorph rodents it seems.   

       I just see them as small and therefore not having the luxury of being able to digest carbohydrates in any other way. I imagine they have cellulose-digesting gut flora which make sugars available to them and maybe other nutrients they can't get at the first time, and need to use enzymes and transport proteins further up in their gastrointestinal tracts to absorb them. When the giant ones evolve, presumably they'll use a different system.
nineteenthly, Apr 07 2012

       Thank you. I knew there was a differemt word for it, but I'm just too damn lazy to look these things up myself, see?   

       // When the giant ones evolve //   

       I had a New Zealand / Californian buck named King Ham that weighed 29 lbs and was the most enthusiastic shit eater in my flock (he was equally enthusiastic about generally everything he did, however). I've also noticed that bucks engage in this behavior more frequently, or are less bashful about it than the does.
Alterother, Apr 07 2012

       Interesting. Presumably it was to support his unusually large body. In that case, maybe they'll go on doing exactly what they do now. Cabybaras seem to, so maybe a rabbit the size of a llama would as well.
nineteenthly, Apr 07 2012


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