Why vultures are invulnerable to all kin ...

Why vultures are invulnerable to all kinds of poison?

Oct 28, 2022

During his 1835 expedition aboard the Beagle, Charles Darwin encountered a bird that disgusted him so much that he wrote about it in his diary, "These birds are disgusting and live to feed on the stench." The bird Darwin described was no other than a vulture.

Rotting meat usually contains a lot of bacteria and viruses. Why is this carrion, which is a deterrent to other animals, a feast for vultures? Won't they be poisoned?

The mystery is that vultures have a powerful stomach that makes them invulnerable to all kinds of poison.

Vulture stomachs are ten times more acidic than human stomach acid, which can destroy large amounts of ingested disease-causing bacteria. Scientists once dissected a vulture and found that 85% of the facial skin microbes were missing from its large intestinal contents. Even so, some difficult bacteria can still survive in a vulture's body. The microbial community in a vulture's colon consists primarily of two anaerobic species - Clostridium and Clostridium - both of which are lethal to other animals, such as certain Clostridium species that can cause mass mortality in waterfowl and Clostridium perfringens - which can cause colon cancer in humans. Vultures, however, can coexist peacefully with both types of bacteria.

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