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How long is the largest animal intestine? © iStock

How long is the largest animal intestine?

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You won’t expect how far-reaching some animals’ digestive tract is.

Asked by: Harry Burke, Leominster

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It’s a fairly close contest between the sperm whale and the blue whale. For most whale and dolphin species, the length of their intestines works out as: (body length0.762) x 17.02. That comes to more than 150m of intestine in the case of a large sperm whale and possibly as much as 220m for a blue whale. While this sounds enormous, it’s actually only seven or eight times the whale’s body length. In contrast, a cow has intestines that are 20 times as long as its body – that’s 40m for a 2m-long cow!

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Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

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