Here is a question that you have probably never asked yourself, but which could well make you shine during your next family meals or at the coffee machine. Are there animals that cannot vomit? The answer is yes ! There are at least 5, being physically devoid of gag reflexes. Here are the ones.
Why can’t some animals vomit?
If the human species conceals many secrets, the animal world also hides its share of curiosities. Indeed, most living beings have a natural defense mechanism in the event of ingesting toxic food. This is called “vomiting.” However, others do not. For years, specialists have studied the ability to vomit in mammals and it turns out that not everyone is in the same boat. To understand why some animals can’t vomit, we need to look at their metabolism.
Vomiting is a natural reflex allowing mammals to protect themselves against possible food poisoning. But not everyone is in the same boat, since among the multitude of animals present on the planet, insects included, only 5 do not have the physical capacity to vomit. The reason for this peculiarity is linked to their one-way digestive system.
Indeed, the common point between all these animals is the presence of a muscle called cardia. To put it simply, their esophagus has only one entry point for food: from the mouth to the stomach, preventing possible regurgitation. Once food is swallowed, reverse flow is impossible, because the cardia prevents the food from going backwards.
Focus on the 5 animals incapable of vomiting 1 – The horse
The horse already has the particularity of being the only monogastric ruminant, that is to say that it only has one stomach (and a very small one, at that). But it is not the only one, since it is also one of the mammals incapable of vomiting. This is due to its cardia muscle, but also to the length of its esophagus. In fact, the latter measures 1.5 m long and is curled up on itself, preventing food from going up to the mouth.
It is for this reason that if the horse suffers food poisoning or if it consumes too much food, it can suffer from colic which is also the leading cause of mortality in equines.
2 – The rabbit
The muscles of the rabbit’s diaphragm are very thin and very weak, making the gag reflex impossible. Very greedy, these little balls of fur are capable of consuming a lot of food, completely ignoring the danger they face.
Unlike the horse, the rabbit can have a cough reflex to possibly release food. However, this is very dangerous and can also lead to the death of the animal.
3 – The rat
Many rodents have one thing in common: they are incapable of vomiting. Although they can, however, regurgitate, the mechanism is not the same. Unlike regurgitation, vomiting involves a complex muscle reflex that rats cannot perform.
But then how do they avoid suffocation or death from ingestion? Rats tend to know and avoid certain toxic substances. To do this, they will first lick the food before consuming it. And if they still eat something that makes them sick, they will try to dilute the toxins by eating neutral materials like earth or clay. However, this is not always effective, which is why rat poison still works so well…
4 – The guinea pig and the guinea pigs
Just like rabbits, guinea pigs cannot vomit because of the helplessness of their throat muscles. Like most rodents, they do not have a gag reflex and eat without worrying about the repercussions. It is for this reason that they fall prey to gastrointestinal obstructions, thus leading to death.
5 – The mouse
Like rats and some other rodents, mice cannot vomit. If she eats too much or eats harmful foods, she dies. His body is not strong enough to allow him to contract the muscles of his diaphragm. It is therefore unable to extract toxic foods to protect itself from food poisoning.