As the title: What organs or modifications would be needed to have creature that can eat/digest hair without problem? (Preferably digested normal/quick enough, and they only eat hair.)

This includes other animal fur but if it's impossible then at least human hair, and I know about Trichophagia and hairball.

I want it to be a big creature type, at least as big as a cat or frog, also I don't want it to be insect type.

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    $\begingroup$ there are already animals that eat hair, many beetles from Dermestidae eat hair as do some Tineidae moths. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 3:58
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    $\begingroup$ Then that would be the kind of thing that should be included in your question from the beginning. As it stands this question is very vague. I suggest you run it through the sandbox first. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 4:11
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    $\begingroup$ Not really, what other features you want is needed, why you want a creature for this is important as there is no point in a large creature eating hair since it has access to the rest of the carcass/prey and hair has very little caloric value. Is digestion mandatory or an option because that makes a big difference, there are a dozen other things that need to be clarified, which is why I suggested you run it through the sandbox first, as is this should be closed for being too vague. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 4:46
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    $\begingroup$ Related question Can humans survive just by eating hairs and nails? : was the answer you need really not in there somewhere, seven answers & some of them went into extraordinary detail in places. $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 7:41
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    $\begingroup$ @Pelinore none of them describe an organs or modification to easily digest hair though, except large storage one to contain more hair but thats to accomodate enough nutrition. but overall its informative regarding the nutrition, besides it was about eating their own hairs or nails though..... $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 9:38

1 Answer 1


Keratin is highly resistant to stomach acids of humans, but some fungi can use keratin as a food source

One way around this is to have a fermenting gut, like a cow, that employs these hair-eating microorganisms to pre-ferment the hair mass into something that can be digested. You could even extend this with cow's ability to chew its cud. Basically regurgitate the partially fermented hairball and re-chew it before re-swallowing it.

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    $\begingroup$ I feel like a need a shower after typing that answer. $\endgroup$
    – Nate White
    Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 5:05

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