Digestion: time it takes to digest food

From: Erich Hoyt (EHoyt@compuserve.com)
Date: Sun Apr 06 2003 - 01:00:48 EST

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    Message text written by "Grubbs, Ronda"

    I was wondering if you could tell me how long it takes a whale to digest
    food, from start to finish.
    Thank You
    Ronda Grubbs

    The Biology of Marine Mammals by Reynolds and Rommel (Smithsonian Press)
    has a detailed description of the digestive system, and it would seem that
    the length of time must vary considerably, because of the varying length of
    the intestines and the fact that the number of stomach chambers varies
    among cetaceans, but nowhere is there even an estimate of the time.

    It is interesting that the digestive system, even for the toothed whales is
    like that of a ruminant (like a deer or mountain goat), much more like a
    vegetarian type digestive system, than that a carnivore...

    I'll keep looking to see if anywhere there is an estimate of the time. I
    suspect it may only be known for the few species of dolphins kept in
    captivity, but not for the larger whales.

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