Actually, humans and other mammals have some
of the strongest stomach acid around.
Our stomach produces hydrochloric acid
(HCL), which is very strong. However, its not
our stomach acid that breaks down food in the
stomach. The acid
just allows another chemical, called
pepsin, to work properly and break down
food. Pepsin is a digestive enzyme. Other
digestive enzymes are found in you saliva and
The stomach and its chemicals are just part of
the digestion story. Most animals have three ways
to break down food to get its energy:
mechanical,chemical, and bacterial. Chewing
is a mechanical way to break down food. The
digestive enzymes in saliva, the stomach, and the
intestine chemically break down food. Helpful,
natural, bacteria in the intestine also assist in
digestion. What animals can digest depends on
all three, so stomach acid is really
the least of the story.
For example, humans cannot digest cellulose,
also called fiber, found in plants. Cows have
intestinal bacteria that can break down cellulose
so that the cow can use it for food. They also
chew their food multiple times
to break it down. So it's not the stomach acid
that allows the cow to have a more powerful
Venomous snakes swallow their prey
whole and depend entirely on digestive enzymes to
break down their food. Their venom has digestive
enzymes in it to start digesting prey before it is
even swallowed. They have more powerful enzymes,
not stronger acid. They still cant digest bones
and other hard parts.
I think the most impressive stomach would
probably belong to the white shark. They have
huge stomachs with very powerful digestive
enzymes. They eat their prey in large chunks.
Because great white sharks swim almost constantly,
they need to digest quickly. Their stomachs turn
prey into liquid very rapidly. Their intestine has
digestive enzymes that further break down food. As
a result they can almost completely digest the
seals and other mammals they feed on.
Click Here to return to the search form.