Kid Explorers navigation bar

How can sea gulls drink so much salt water and survive?

Photo copyrighted 2004, Paul S. Taylor.
Photo copyrighted 2004, Paul S. Taylor.
Photo copyrighted 2004, Paul S. Taylor.

Top three photos by Paul S. Taylor, Copyright 2004.

Writing about sea gulls in the Daily Telegraph's “Nature Notes,” Dr. Maurice Burton says:

"The amount of sea water a gull can drink would be the equivalent of two gallons to a man; but to a man, one-tenth of this amount would cause collapse through dehydration of the tissues.

The secret of the gull's ability to survive drinking salt water lies in a pair of glands in the head, but their function was not eluciadated until a few years ago. Each gland consists of thousands of minute tubes arranged like the bristles on a bottle brush. Where the handle of the brush would be is a central tube communicating with the nasal cavity. A rich supply of fine blood vessels surrounds the gland, which extracts the salt from the blood.

The salt is then lost in water, drops from the tip of the beak, each drop many times more salty than tears, five times as salty as the gull's own blood and twice as salty as sea water."

So, God Himself devised a practical desalinating device that works—and has since He originally created the sea gull.

Isn't it wonderful what miracles God has wrought in nature? He has made each creature to survive in its own particular environment.

Adapted by Films for Christ from text author: Fred John Meldau. First published in Fred John Meldau, Why We Believe in Creation Not in Evolution, Fourth Edition (Denver, Colorado: Christian Victory Publishing Co., 1967), p. 348. Photographs are copyrighted and may not be reproduced.

Looking for ANSWERS to your questions? Find ANSWERS to more questions in the KidExplorers section of ChristianAnswers.Net (

click for Kid Explorers Home Index