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National poo museum opens at Isle of Wight Zoo

Meerkat faeces encased in an illuminated resin sphere. Credit: National Poo Museum/PA Wire

A museum dedicated to faeces has opened to the public at the Isle of Wight Zoo.

The exhibition is the first in the UK to have a focus on faeces and has examples from the animal and human world including elks, lions and a baby on display.

The National Poo Museum has been created by members of the artist collective Eccleston George and features illuminated resin spheres to show off the different types of poo

Various interesting facts are also hidden behind retro toilet lids which line the museum's walls.

A 'poo tree' invites visitors to give their theories about why so many dog poos end up hanging from trees in plastic bags. Credit: National Poo Museum/PA Wire

The display also includes fossilised poo (coprolites) dating back 140 million years, a tawny owl pellet containing bones and teeth as well as a child's shoe soiled on by a cat.

The exhibition's curators have said their mission "change forever the way we think about this amazing substance".

Co-curator Daniel Roberts holding a lion poo in resin. Credit: National Poo Museum/PA Wire

Poo provokes strong reactions. Small children naturally delight in it but later we learn to avoid this yucky, disease-carrying stuff, and that even talking about poo is bad.

But for most of us, under the layers of disgust and taboo, we're still fascinated by it.

– Co-curator Nigel George

Co-curator Daniel Roberts said one of the aims of the exhibition is also highlight important poo-related issues, "from dog mess to the effects of diet on the microbiome, to lack of access to sanitation in developing countries".

He also explained the efforts his team had to go through for their cause.

"To prepare the faeces we had to build a special poo-drying machine. A stick insect poo can be desiccated completely in an hour or so, but a lion poo can take a fortnight to dry out."

Horse dung is lowered into the poo desiccator. Credit: National Poo Museum/PA Wire