Everyone loves the beach. There is no better feeling than sinking your feet into the nice warm sand and taking in the views of the sun setting over the surface of the water. There is a reason why seaside holidays are so popular and that is because there is no experience comparable to the sense of tranquility that you get when you are next to the sea line. In our brains, the beach is instantly associated with escapism and the lack of pressure that you feel under the hustle and bustle in your busy work life. In fact, if you were to look at any holiday or getaway advertisement, there is bound to be some sort of focus on the access to the beach. There is also a reason that air BnBs that is located near a beach cost much more and that is because we all love them.
As humans, we have the habit of gossiping and spreading little fun facts. Whether they are true or not is up to debate. This gossip even expands to the world of beach living, among rumors about the number of calories burned while scuba diving and the creatures that lurk under the water, it is also widely spread that the sand that you know and love is actually nothing more than fish poop.
Now, we don’t want to put you off relaxing by the beach for life, but we think this is something that we need to delve into and discuss out of our own curiosity. So, is sand fish-poop?
The Parrot Fish
Now, this may not be what you wanted to hear, but we are sorry to tell you that sand is in fact fish poop. Now, this is not all sand, so don’t worry. However, all of those beautiful white beaches that I’m sure you have fallen in love with through pictures or through personal encounters are in fact made up of poop. Now there is an explanation for how beaches become overwhelmed with fish poop and it all starts with the simple Parrotfish.
The parrotfish have a diet that is quite different from the diet of your average fish. Instead of munching down on algae and their fellow fish, parrot fish absolutely love to eat coral. You may think that they would do a number on their teeth, but as they have evolved, parrotfish have developed powerful teeth that are perfect for crushing even the toughest material. Because of this, they don’t only eat coral, they love to eat any rock-like substance.
Like any animal, the parrotfish needs to pass anything they have consumed and through digestion, the coral and rock that they have been eating does not remain in their usual form. The coral and rock they have been eating throughout the day actually become thin grains of white sand, which eventually washes up to the shore and gradually builds beaches.
This may leave you utterly disgusted, but it is important to remember that it is not like you are standing in actual fish excrement. You’re just standing on coral that has gone through the digestive process. So when you are trying out the best underwater scooters when you’re next scuba diving, be sure to look out for the parrotfish as that will be a good indication of whether or not the beach you have been lying on is actually made up of fish poo.
Is all sand Fish-Poop
Now, you may be put off beaches for life and you may be on the verge of canceling the beach getaway that you have been planning for the last two years. However, you don’t have to worry. As I previously stated, it is the white sand that you should be looking out for, as that could be the poop of a parrotfish. However, not all sand or even white sand is fish poop as there are other ways that sand is formed.
As I have previously stated, the way in which parrotfish produce sand is through granulating rock and coral. Now, it would be hard to believe that the only way that these things become sand is through passing through a fish. Aside from passing through a fish, several other natural processes can make coral and rock become sand
As you may be aware, water pressure can actually be quite intense and powerful. Because of this, more often than not, little pieces of rock will be knocked off naturally occurring rock groups. As it travels through the water’s tides, this rock will be granulated due to the pressure and will become grains of sand that contribute to the formation of beaches.
If you ever studied the rock cycle in school, you will also be aware that rocks naturally erode over time. That doesn’t mean they just decrease in size and the rock that breaks away from the bigger rock needs to become something. These rocks that erode from bigger bodies or even mountains will travel downstream into the ocean and become grains of sand that wash up onto the shore and form beaches.
Why are beaches different colors
You may wonder why fish poop only occurs on white beaches and how other beaches get the color they have. This all depends on how the sand is formed and the minerals that it comes into contact with.
The most common sand that you will see on a beach and the color you are probably most familiar with is tan sand. Thankfully, this is not produced as a product of fish poo and is in fact this color because it was naturally quartz that oxidized with iron.
One of the rarer colors of sand that you may be aware of is black sand. Again, this is not produced by poop and is in fact created in quite a cool way. Black sand is actually eroded volcanic material.