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9 Animals With Multiple Stomachs (Pictures)

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Interestingly enough, there are many animals that are born with multiple organs, such as two or more hearts. Then there are also many animals with multiple stomachs. Well, technically they have one true stomach with multiple compartments.

Animals who have more than one stomach compartment can digest their foods differently, which helps them live in their own normal way. When animals have more than one stomach, they tend to be called ruminants after the word “rumen”, which is a part of the stomach.

These animals that are referred to as ruminants, have stomachs with four compartments. They are the rumen, the reticulum, the omasum and the abomasum. These are all sections to one gastro intestinal tract (GIT) but they are 4 distinct stomach parts that work together to digest the food.

Animals with these four stomach components are often called ruminants. However, creatures with three stomachs are instead called pseudo-ruminants. These additional stomachs, so to speak, help these animals digest their food and gain additional nutrients when needed.

9 Animals With Multiple Stomachs

Check out the 9 animals below, all of who (in a way) have more than one stomach!

1. Cows

  • Scientific Name: Bos taurus
  • Number of Stomachs: 4

Possibly the most well-known animal that has more than one stomach, cows have four different stomach chambers that help them digest everything they eat. These four stomachs are called the Rumen, Reticulum, Omasum, and Abomasum. Each part of a cow’s large stomach system has a specific job and helps the animal slowly digest its food and get all necessary nutrients.

One interesting thing that cows do? Chew and swallow their food, only to then bring it back up into their mouths to chew it again. Often called chewing their cud, this is a huge part of a cow’s digestive and stomach system, as it allows them to accurately break down the food they’re eating.


2. Deer

  • Scientific Name: Cervidae
  • Number of Stomachs: 4

Just like cows, deer also have four stomach compartments. A deer’s stomach works similar to how a cow’s does and has four “parts” that comprise their entire stomach or digestive system; the Rumen, Reticulum, Omasum, and Abomasum. Therefore, deer also chew and swallow their food, only to then bring it back up to their mouths for another round of chewing their “cud”.


3. Cachalot Whales

  • Scientific Name: Physeter macrocephalus
  • Number of Stomachs: 4

The cachalot or sperm whale also has an incredibly interesting stomach system, as these animals have four stomachs! However, their digestive system works slightly different than cows and deer do.

For example, while these types of whales actually do have teeth, they can’t chew their food. So, the first chamber of their stomach system helps them break down this food and crushes it into smaller pieces. This first section of their stomach has very strong muscles that help the organ do this. Food is then digested into the second chamber before it goes to the next two sections!

Sperm whales also differ from the other ruminants on this list when it comes to their diet. Most of the other animals on here graze on vegetation, so their four-chambered stomachs help them digest their low-energy foods. Sperm whales differ because their diet consists of eating other fish species in the ocean.

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4. Sheep

Image: skeeze | pixabay.com
  • Scientific Name: Ovis
  • Number of Stomachs: 4

We’ve got another cud chewer here! Much like the animals above, sheep have four stomachs that each comprise one huge digestive system that allows them to best digest their food. Because of this system, sheep also regurgitate their chewed food in order to chew the food again, break it down again, and then digest it completely.


5. Giraffes

  • Scientific Name: Giraffa
  • Number of Stomachs: 4

Giraffes are also ruminants, which means that they have four stomachs that work together in unison to make one big stomach or digestive system. This also means that giraffes re-chew and re-swallow food they have already swallowed to help them digest their food once again.

Much like the other animals on this list, giraffes eat and graze on vegetation. Because their diet often consists of low-energy foods, their four stomach system allows them to make the most out of their nutrients and gives them the energy they need!


6. Pronghorns

  • Scientific Name: Antilocapra Americana
  • Number of Stomachs: 4

Called the antelopes of America, pronghorns are also ruminants with four stomach systems that work together. Their stomach organs allow them to re-chew and re-swallow food they’ve already eaten to help them break it down even more. A pronghorn’s digestive system also helps them store and use the energy they get from the vegetation they eat.


7. Goats

  • Scientific Name: Capra aegagrus hircus
  • Number of Stomachs: 4

Yet another ruminant! Goats, much like cows and the other ruminant animals on this list, have a four stomach system that allows them to get the most energy and nutrients out of low-energy plants and vegetation they normally graze on. This also means that goats have the capability to regurgitate their food and chew their cud to help them digest it better.


8. Moose

image: Pixabay.com
  • Scientific Name: Alces alces
  • Number of Stomachs: 4

Another rudiment with incredibly similar digestive systems to cows and deer, moose have a large stomach that consists of four different stomachs. Moose also graze on vegetation and have a naturally low-energy diet. Because of this, their system works to allow them to harness and store the most energy possible from their food.

Their four-chamber stomach system also means that they can re-chew and re-swallow the food that they previously already ate, helping them break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces in the process!


9. Hippopotamuses

  • Scientific Name: Hippopotamus amphibious
  • Number of Stomachs: 3

Because a hippopotamus has three stomach chambers, they are called pseudo-ruminant animals rather than ruminants. The animals above (such as deer and cows) are called ruminants because they have four stomachs. A hippo’s stomach consists of the parietal blind sac, the stomach, and the glandular stomach.

Because hippos do not ruminate like cows and deer, they do not regurgitate their food and chew their cud. Hippos are grazers and eat vegetation, though they’re considered omnivorous. Their stomach system allows them to utilize the best energy from the plant-based, low-energy food they eat on a consistent basis!

While they may only have a three stomach system, their digestive system is actually considered one of the more complex and interesting systems in most animals!

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About Patricia Greene

Patricia is a wildlife enthusiast that loves traveling and learning about wildlife all over North America and the world. Aside from being writer for Wildlife Informer, she's an avid bird watcher as well as the owner of several pet reptiles. She enjoys visiting national parks and seeing new sights in her free time.