Animals With Multiple Stomachs? All You Need to Know

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So, are there any creatures that have more than one stomach? Both yes and no.

I guarantee that this “yes and no” will make perfect sense at the end if you read all the way through.

There are a number of animal species whose stomachs are so intricate that they have given many people the false impression that they have several stomachs.

Ruminant animals are the most well-known species to be known to have several stomachs. However, in actuality, they only have one stomach that is divided into four compartments: the reticulum, omasum, abomasum, and rumen.

However, there are other species having two, three, or even thirteen chambers in their stomachs, making that not the only stomach marvel found in the animal kingdom.

Animals with Two Chambered Stomachs


As a crocodilian reptile, the alligator has two chambers in its stomach. When it is younger, it consumes fish, insects, snails, and crustaceans; as it gets older, it consumes bigger fish, turtles, mammals, and birds.

Gizzard stones, also known as gastroliths, are found in the tiny first chamber of the alligator’s stomach.

It is thought to help in digestion by grinding, much like gizzards do for birds in the case of alligators.

Because the alligator prefers to eat by biting large pieces of prey or even swallowing smaller prey whole, the purpose of the first chamber is to ground the meal.

The food enters the second, larger chamber of the alligator’s stomach after it has been pulverized and digested. This chamber has a high acidity level that rises throughout digestion.

This occurs as a result of the animal’s body seeming to pump more blood into the stomach during digestion in an effort to produce more CO2, which raises the concentration of gastric acid.

One species that was kept from becoming extinct is the alligator, which is currently commercially cultivated for its flesh and skin.


Although two species of dolphins also consume other marine animals, fish and squid are the primary food source for these aquatic creatures.

Dolphins’ stomachs are double-chambered, like the stomachs of terrestrial predators, having a fundic chamber and a glandular chamber.

The animal’s adaption to the underwater environment seems to be the cause of this stomach split, since it allows it to take advantage of plentiful prey and cope with the unpredictability of feeding chances.

Because of this, the dolphin’s stomach has two chambers, the largest of which is the first, and it may expand to hold the maximum amount of food.

The glandular chamber, which is the second chamber, secretes the enzymes required to break down the food.

There are forty dolphin species left in the world; some have two chambers in their stomachs, while others have three chambers.

The pyloric chamber, the third chamber of a dolphin’s three-chambered stomach, regulates the passage of food into the much thinner intestine.

Does the fact that a dolphin weighing between 180 and 230 kg consumes 11 to 22 kg of fish every day give you any indication of how big that first stomach chamber may get?

Three-chambered stomach animals


With just two species remaining, the ostrich is a flightless bird that is the biggest and heaviest bird alive (common ostrich and Somali ostrich).

The mature ostrich stores about one kilogram of pebbles, rocks, and sand in its gizzard to make up for its lack of teeth, despite its omnivorous diet.

The ostrich is the only bird that secretes pee and feces separately, and it has a three-chambered stomach and tough intestines that may reach fourteen meters in length.

The ostrich’s rough intestine and several chambers stomach allow it to digest foods that other animals cannot.

As a result, they eat a variety of things, including insects, lizards, snakes, roots, leaves, and seeds, as well as rodents.

Although the ostrich originated in Africa, it is now cultivated all over the globe mostly for its feathers, which are used as dusters or decorations.

In addition, ostrich reared on farms makes for a great supply of eggs, leather, and highly valued meat that has less cholesterol than beef.

Also Read: Is It Possible for Ostriches to Fly? How Did They Develop Despite Being Birds Without Wings?


Large and herbivorous, the hippopotamus is a semiaquatic herbivorous mammal that lives mostly in the water. At sunset, it comes ashore to feed on short grasses.

The hippopotamus may cover a distance of fifteen kilometers on land in search of sustenance, rest for a maximum of five hours, and consume up to sixty-eight kilos of vegetation per night—a rather small amount given the animal’s size.

As a result, the hippo’s stomach has evolved to effectively absorb nutrients from the lower-energy food.

The parietal blind sac, the stomach, and the glandular stomach are the three chambers of the hippo’s stomach, where the microbial fermentation process takes place before the enzyme-catalyzed digestion.

The microbial fermentation that occurs before to digestion places hippopotamuses in the same category as foregut fermenters as sheep, goats, kangaroos, and cows.

Despite the fact that hippos are not meant to consume meat due to their stomach’s architecture, there have been accounts of hippos consuming meat, prey, and even human flesh; these incidents are thought to be the result of nutritional stress or abnormal behavior.

Also Read: Grazing and Scavenging Habits of Hippos

Camelidae (alpacas) 

A herbivorous mammal belonging to the Camelidae family, which also includes llamas and camels, is the alpaca (Lama pacos).

Large, solely herbivorous creatures with long legs, slender necks, and three chambered stomachs are known as camelids.

The alpaca’s (and other Camelidae’s) three chambered stomach enables them to absorb the most nutrients possible from low-nutrient forages.

Though the alpaca chews its food (a action that shapes number eight), it is not classified as a ruminant, neither is the rest of the Camelidae family.

The first two stomach chambers receive the chewed food, which is where fermentation begins.

The water and nutrients are absorbed in the first section of the third chamber, and

The acid required for food digestion is produced by the last section of the third stomach chamber.

A combination of saliva, acidic stomach material (typically grassy green) and air are released when an alpaca “spits,” giving the animal the nickname “sour mouth.” The alpaca’s bottom lip hangs down and its mouth is open.

Animals Having Four Stomach Chambers


Raised for meat, milk, and leather, cattle (Bos taurus) are large domesticated herbivores with split hooves.

Animals known as ruminants have digestive systems designed to absorb nutrients from food that is difficult to digest, such hay and greens.

Rumination occurs when cattle regurgitate and re-chew their meal because it is stored unchewed in the rumen during feeding.

The food that has been regurgitated, or cud, is broken down into tiny pieces and re-swallowed to aid in the digestive process after being stored in the rumen as balls of cud.

The biggest chamber, the rumen, serves to both absorb nutrients and promote fermentation, which produces rumen bacteria and microorganisms that break down and digest proteins.

Large food particles that are too big to be digested are captured by the reticulum, which helps with regurgitation.

It is held in place by thin tissue linked to the rumen and contains anything that the animal inadvertently ingested, such as metal fragments and boulders.

The omasum, which is smaller than the reticulum and rumen, absorbs nutrients and water after the second chewing. Its structure is made up of folded tissues that resemble book pages.

Because it has glands and functions most like a non-ruminant stomach, the abomasum chamber is sometimes referred to as “the true stomach.”

With just 4% of the total stomach capacity, the abomasum is the smallest of the cattle’s stomach chambers.[1]

Now that you are familiar with the digestive mechanism of ruminants, let’s examine additional species that possess numerous, quadruple-chambered stomachs.


The two major families of ruminant animals, known as Cervinae (which includes elk, muntjac, red deer, and fallow deer) and Capreolinae (which includes moose, caribou, roe deer, and white-tailed deer), are deer.

Deers eat the rapidly dissolving vegetation (baby leaves, young grasses, silky fungus and lichens, soft fruits, and coarse twigs) since their stomachs are smaller than those of real ruminants.

The deer’s digestive tract processes the young, low-fiber feed quickly after little fermentation and grinding.

(I suppose deers are the ones that understand the “fast food” notion the best.)

However, we must take note of the animal’s digestive system efficiency since it needs a diet high in nutrients in order for it to develop antlers, which requires enormous amounts of calcium and phosphate.

Interesting fact: near the shore, deers have been seen consuming dead herring and robbing the eggs of northern bobwhites.


With eight existing species and seven extinct, giraffes are the biggest ruminant and the tallest living animal.

It is now difficult to imagine anything being able to pass through the lengthy neck characteristic of this magnificent creature and climb back up in the mouth.

However, like other ruminants, giraffes have four chambered stomachs and repeat the process of regurgitating and chewing their meal.

The giraffe’s esophageal muscles are remarkably robust, which allows for regurgitation.

The giraffe’s favorite food is young twigs from the tops of Terminalia and Cammifora trees because they are high in calcium and protein, which are essential for the animal’s development.

In addition to consuming grass, bushes, and fruits, giraffes also chew their food, unlike other ruminants.

The meal is broken down and swallowed by the giraffe before being taken up into its mouth for further chewing.

The giraffe needs less food than other herbivores because of its effective digestive system and the nutrient-rich foliage it eats.


Since the sloth has the slowest metabolism of any animal, almost everything takes a very long time to digest.

The four chambered stomach of the sloth is an adaptation to its ability to withstand the poisons found in the thick, rubbery leaves of the jungle.

Because of their low-calorie, low-nutrient diet, sloths have evolved to operate on less energy.

A variety of bacteria in the sloth’s stomach break down the leaves gradually; but, since the animal is unable to regulate its body temperature, the bacteria may perish if the animal’s body temperature falls too low.

Like reptiles, sloths need frequent sun exposure to maintain a high body temperature because of their sluggish metabolism.[2]


The largest toothed whale and greatest predator is the cachalot whale, also referred to as the sperm whale. It is a carnivorous huge aquatic animal.

The stomach of a cachalot whale is made of four chambers, much like that of ruminants, although it doesn’t ruminate like that of ruminants.

Because the cachalot whale lacks the ability to chew its food with its large teeth, the rumen, the first chamber of its stomach, which has thick, muscular walls, is responsible for smashing food via a process known as peristalsis.

The second chamber, known as the “cardiac stomach,” absorbs everything thereafter and produces the acid and digestive enzymes required for digestion.

The third chamber of the cachalot whale’s stomach is a tiny passageway that the digested food must travel through before reaching the pylorus, the stomach’s last chamber.

The large number of mucus glands aid in intestinal transit, entire prey ingestion, and chitin digestion (a glucose amide derivative present in krill exoskeletons).

Beaked whales

As toothed predators that dive deep, beaked whales consume fish and squid. Not very remarkable thus far, is it?

The stomachs of beaked whales consist of four major chambers: the pyloric stomach, the main stomach, many tiny connecting chambers, and the forestomach. Nothing more unique about this.

There are more multichambered compartments than the linking one; in some species, all four compartments are separated into smaller chambers known as stomachs.

Different species have different numbers of these “stomachs,” as do individuals within the same species:

There are beaked whale species that have a total of up to fourteen stomachs, with only seven to ten chambers between the pyloric and main stomachs.

Certain hypotheses propose that whales are descended from terrestrial two-hooved herbivores, meaning they are related to giraffes, cows, sheep, deers, and goats. These beliefs stem from the similarities between the stomachs of whales and ruminants.

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