Tract Functions


Omasum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Observing The Omasum

This week I will tell you about the Omasum.  The omasum functions as the gateway to the abomasum (more about the abomasum next week) acting as a filter to transfer large particles back to the rumen.  Although it allows fine particles and fluids to be passed on to the abomasun.  Also known as “the book” the omasum has many leaf-like folds that gives it a wrinkled appearance.  Though the complete function of this compartment is unknown, it does aid in water resorption and recycling of buffers for the saliva. The omasum may also absorb some volatile fatty acids.  Ultimately, we may never know all the functions the omasum has, but it is essential for the bovine digestive tract.

To see what the omasum looks like, watch the video at

Vegetarians and Bovines

The Four Stomachs

The Four Stomachs (Photo credit: benjamin_scott_florin)

Cow Rumen.

Now I am going to break down the different sections of a bovine stomach.  Starting with the rumen.  The rumen is the largest section of a bovine stomach and is responsible for most of the digestion.  Part of what helps with digestion are the billions of protozoa, bacteria, molds, and yeasts that reside in the rumen.  The bacteria and protozoa do most of the digestion for the cow.  Which is the reason why cattle can thrive on large amounts of roughage.  There are about 25 to 50 billion bacteria and 200 to 500 thousand protozoa in every milliliter (about 0.06 ounces) of rumen fluid.  These microorganisms also produce proteins including essential amino acids from the protein and nitrogen that the cow ingests.  The microorganisms digest the plant fiber and produce volatile fatty acids. These fatty acids are absorbed directly through the rumen wall and supply 60 to 80 % of the energy needed by the cow. Because the microbes can use nitrogen to make protein, cows can eat urea and other sources of non-protein nitrogen that would kill non-ruminants. The microbes also make vitamins B and C.  This makes it possible for the cow to eat a large variety of feeds made up of grass, hay, corn, brewers grains, corn stalks, silage, and even urea.  This is the reason why non-ruminants like canines, felines, and humans cannot thrive on vegetarian diets.

To see pictures of rumen and where it is located in the cow, watch my video at

Supreme Canines

Gray Foxes

English: Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), ...

Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), New Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gray foxes are not as abundant as their red cousins in that their primary habitat is North America, while the red fox includes parts of Europe as its natural habitat.  One of the things that set the gray fox apart from other canines is its ability to climb trees.  This characteristic is found in only two canine species, the gray fox and the Asian raccoon dog.  Both these canines have strong sharp claws and muscular hind legs to haul themselves up trees.  Being a solitary hunter, gray foxes kill and consume anything that is smaller than they are.  This includes rabbits, squirrels, mice, snakes, insects, and sometimes even birds.  Another important part of the gray fox’s diet are fruits and vegetables.  Gray foxes ingest more vegetable matter than red foxes do, and they tend to devour all the fruits they can get.  Surprisingly,  gray foxes are not as good at adapting as red foxes. In urban areas and suburbs, red foxes are dominant.  But, in more rural, less populated areas gray foxes are dominant.  In conclusion, although not as adaptable as red foxes, gray foxes are the supreme fox in the wild.

To watch a video that shows gray fox habitat and a few different eye colors, go to