Read our COVID-19 research and news.

Ulrich Wernery/Central Veterinary Research Laboratory

Camels are munching on plastic, and the results are deadly

Plastic pollution is a well-known problem for marine animals, which can mistake floating trash as food. But they aren’t the only ones; some camels do it, too, Science News reports. This ingested plastic accumulates in their stomachs, forming masses that can weigh as much as 64 kilograms. These gut-clogging clumps—dubbed polybezoars—kill about 1% of dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) in the United Arab Emirates, researchers estimate in the February 2021 issue of the Journal of Arid Environments. Polybezoars can block intestines and leak toxins, or simply give camels a false sense of fullness, so they stop eating and slowly starve to death.

*Update, 18 December, 10:50 a.m.: This story has been updated to specify that the study took place in dromedary camels.

Latest News