Wednesday, July 27, 2011

how many stomachs does a donkey have?

A while ago over dinner, I pointed out to DS1 the importance of chewing and swallowing, since he only has one stomach.  This led to a discussion of cows and the question of “how many stomachs does a donkey have?”

As a homeschooling mom, I’m keen to encourage my children in topics that interest them. As an aspiring librarian, however, I was stumped! Unable to find anything in the catalogue that would appear to provide more information about which animals ruminate, I resorted to a web search on 

Of the results presented to me, I chose the “Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations” website where I learned:
The stomach of a ruminant has four chambers. The first chamber is very large and is called the rumen. The second chamber is the reticulum (honeycomb). The third is the omasum (book) and the fourth is the  abomasum (the true stomach). The ruminant chews grass and swallows and it goes into the rumen.  Cattle, goats, sheep and buffalo chew the cud; they are ruminants. Horses, donkeys and mules are herbivores but do not chew the cud. They are nonruminants. 

So, how many stomachs does a donkey have? Well, one, just like everyone else. But, unlike the cow which has four chambers to help it digest, donkeys (and humans) only have one; make sure to chew your food… preferably with your mouth closed!

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