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The comparison and contrast of a rabbit and tigers digestive systems Rabbits are herbivores that eat grass only. Rabbits can’t eat meat because it’s easier for them to digest grass. Tigers are carnivores that eat meat only. Tigers can’t eat grass because they cannot digest the food fast enough and their digestive system in the stomach is short. The digestive system of a tiger consists of an oesophagus, pancreas, mouth, stomach, small intestine, caecum, Large intestine. The digestive system of a rabbits consists of a stomach, small intestine, liver, colon, pancreas, functional caecum, rectum, anus and mouth.
Tigers jaw contains incisors, canines and molar teeth in both jaws and the molars are ridged. The jaw moves up and down. This fact, together with the ridging of the molars indicates that they are used for tearing or crushing to break down the foodstuffs. The salivary glands serve merely to lubricate, and do not have an important digestive function. The rabbit’s lip grabs the plant first and then the front teeth called incisors — four upper and two lower — neatly slice off pieces of the plant.
The food is then passed to the molars (the back teeth), where it’s chewed into small particles and finally swallowed. Tigers use incisors and molars and canines to chew and kill their prey but rabbits use their incisor and molars to chew their food into small particles. Comparing The tiger’s jaws to the rabbits they tear their food by crushing and tearing their food or prey but the rabbits teeth’s slice their food by moving side to side and slicing neatly into small bits and chewing it with their molars at the end to be able to swallow it.
The stomach serves two purposes. Firstly it is a reservoir. Although relatively small compared to the tiger’s size, this is all that is needed, as the food of a carnivore, wholly of meat and fat, is nutrient dense, allowing one small meal to suffice for many hours. The second function of the stomach is to subject the food to concentrated solution of hydrochloric acid, which dissolves and liquefies it. Only food that is dissolved can be digested. Different foods dissolve at different rates and leave the stomach at different rates.
The ones that cannot be digested – raw vegetable matter, cellulose and bone – pass right through the animal unchanged, those that are too big to pass into the small intestine are vomited. So far very little digestion has taken place and, in the carnivore, the stomach is not an essential organ. The food goes into the stomach, but the real action isn’t there. The stomach stores the food and the contents are sterilized before moving to the small intestine. Rabbits have a large stomach for their body size to enable them to eat large amounts of plant material quickly.
They graze primarily in the a. m. and p. m. with little else during the rest of the day, depending on what’s available, the weather, and so on. Taking a purely scientific look at the digestive system of a rabbit reveals a fascinating process. These animals have a particularly efficient way of dealing with the indigestible parts of their plant diet. Comparing the stomach of a rabbit the tiger’s stomach is quite small and the rabbit stomach is a lot larger than the tigers. The small intestine is vitally important.
Without it, no digestion could take place and the tiger could not survive. The dissolved food, called ‘chime’ at this stage, leaves the stomach in a series of spurts, controlled by a valve, the pylorus, and enters the small intestine. It is in the small intestine that food is digested and enters the bloodstream. After a few inches, two ducts connect from the pancreas and the liver to the small intestine. These two organs supply and deliver the enzymes needed to break down the fats and proteins into their component fatty acids and amino acids.
Only in this form can they pass through the gut wall into the bloodstream. These enzymes are vitally important to the carnivore. Those from the pancreas immediately start to break down the chime into its basic components and continue to do this throughout the chime’s passage along the small intestine. The chime is a watery mixture but fat will not mix with water so it requires some special handling. This is where bile comes in. Bile is manufactured in the liver and stored in the gall bladder until such time as it is needed.
In the carnivore there are large amounts of fat in diet on occasion and, as bile is so important, its waste is not allowed. The liver makes bile continuously, the excess being diverted to the gall bladder to be saved and concentrated until it is needed (for the next meal). Digestion of food in a carnivore is performed by enzymes produced by glands in the animal’s own body and all the absorption of nutrients in that food is through the wall of the small intestine. The digestion of protein and fat, with little or no carbohydrate, in the carnivore’s gut is remarkably efficient.
Experiments which have easured the amounts of various nutrients eaten and compared these with the amounts passed in the animal’s excreta have shown that a healthy animal loses no more than four percent of its fat intake and only a trace of the protein. As there is no enzyme in the carnivore capable of digesting cellulose, the material that the cell walls of all plants are composed, little or no digestion of carbohydrates can take place. The rabbit’s small intestine has up to 90% of the protein; starches and sugar are absorbed from the food. Then the undigested fibrous material moves on and is sorted.
Rabbits have a very large blind sac called a caecum that is located where the small intestine and the large intestine join together. This would be in the same place as our appendix, but in the rabbit this organ is very large and contains a wonderfully diverse population of healthy bacteria, yeast, and other organisms working to help the rabbit digest his food. Comparing the rabbit’s small intestine to the tiger intestine the tiger’s intestine has a lot of process to digest and remove unwanted things in the food but a rabbits process in the small intestine is quite fast and small.
The small intestine doesn’t join the large intestine in a straight line, but at a right angle. At this point is a small appendage, two or three inches in length, called the caecum. While this has no functional use in a carnivore so it is usually very small. By the time the chime has passed through the tiger’s small intestine, the process of digestion and absorption of the nutrients in the food is complete. The large intestine, or colon, has just one function to perform.
It would be wasteful to allow water to escape and so the colon extracts the water and which compacts the rest of the waste material from what is left of the chime into a small compact mass, where it is stored in the rectum until it is finally expelled through the anus. The colon in a carnivore is not essential, merely a convenience. When the Rabbits food in the small intestine reaches the caecum and large intestine, the gastrointestinal tract knows which materials to divert into the caecum for further breakdown.
The materials that were already digested in the small intestine and that don’t need to make this little side trip to the caecum pass directly into the large intestine as waste. The hard waste that bypasses the caecum is moved through the colon in a circular motion and forms perfectly round hard balls as the little round droppings you see under your rabbit’s cages. There are two scent glands on either side of the anus. Here the rabbits and tigers last digestive process is quite the same because it goes from the small intestine to the caecum and then the large intestine through the anus. This part here is a quite the same.
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