Geophagy and Potential Contaminant Exposure for Terrestrial Vertebrates

  • Clifford A. Hui
Part of the Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology book series (RECT, volume 183)


Geophagy is the ingestion of earth or earthlike substances. Not only soil and sediments, but also sand, gravel, and rocks are included. The term includes both intentional and incidental ingestion. Geophagy is a surprisingly widespread and normal behavior and has been documented in vertebrates from rodents (Weeks and Kirkpatrick 1978) to whales (Oliver and Kvitek 1984; Johnson and Nelson 1984) to turtles (Kramer 1973) to birds (Reeder 1951). Geophagy can supplement nutritional deficiencies, provide pharmacological treatments, or be a pathway for contaminant exposure.


Gray Whale Soil Ingestion Mute Swan Field Metabolic Rate Desert Tortoise 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clifford A. Hui
    • 1
  1. 1.Biology InvestigationsUSA

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