"One man's crap is another man's treasure" taken a little too literally. Many sentient species have various biological functions which produce some sort of waste or other material (i.e. spit, tears, urine, fecal matter, vomit, the list goes on). Most of the time these wastes are treated like, well, waste, and disposed of accordingly. Most of the time. But for those aliens who won the Superpower Lottery, their various waste products, fecal or otherwise, are like gold to other species (or literallyaregold).
The reason why the species itself doesn't find this material valuable is that it may be, ahem, common as crap on its homeworld. And face it, it may be valuable, but it's still poo. Oftentimes a facet of Bizarre Alien Biology, and may lead to Humans Are Bastards if we get a little too wealth hungry. Can lead to Mainlining the Monster if the Solid Gold Poop isn't gold, but something addictive. Contrast Alien Lunch, which is what goes in to the alien body. Though this is Truth in Television when you consider the useful and unusual applications of real-life animal droppings...
Body to Jewel is a specific Sub-Trope that covers bodily fluids being turned into Mineral MacGuffins.
Warning: High concentration of spoilers due to this trope oftentimes being in The Reveal, and always full of Nightmare Fuel or at the very least, Squick.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
Those Who Hunt Elves has an episode where the humans stranded in a fantasy world desperately search for the world's equivalent of toilet paper. They finally find some precious, lilac-scented paper rolls... only to soon discover that one of the local fauna craps them out.
The Digimon Platinum Sukamon (which itself is poop) has an attack called "Rare Metal Poop."
In the final season of Ojamajo Doremi, Hana-chan becomes friends with a white elephant named Pao-chan. Majo Rika only agrees to let it stay with her when she finds out that it literally poops out money (that is, the marble-like balls that power apprentices' wands and are used as currency).
In Kyo Kara Maoh, Wolfram is seen painting with a foul-smelling paint made from the excrement of Bear-Bees. He doesn't enjoy the smell (even wearing a nose plug), but uses it because it's supposedly the finest kind of paint money can buy in his world.
The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers includes a convoluted tale in which Fat Freddy's cat was kidnapped by aliens whose ship had run out of fuel. Terrified, the cat crapped onto the deck...
Also an even more convoluted one in which Fat Freddy's aunt, a witch, turned her husband into a parakeet. Eventually he's turned back, then turns her into a chicken who actually does have solid gold poop (but her eggs are only Grade B, medium).
The Atari Force's Babe sheds skin scales that turn into crystals, which Pakrat thinks may be valuable, only to find out that after a while they turn into dust.
In the first issue of Sultry Teenage Super-Foxes, the US military develops an alchemy machine that literally turns dog waste into gold. Linkara goes into an angry rant when the scientists say their funding got cut because the government doesn't think the machine is practical.
The Grumpy Transmuter from Bluxte in the French comic book series Valerian is a variation. It's a rare, bad-mannered little alien critter with the power to convert energy into matter. As a consequence, you can feed it a tiny object, and it will immediately crap out dozens of exact replicas of said object as long as it has the energy to do so (it runs out fairly quickly, though, and must be recharged). Obviously, it's typically used to replicate valuable items like diamonds and other gemstones. Fittingly enough, the creature's tail looks like a row of peals on a thread.
Parodied in Cattivik, when a Russian scientist tries to prove that gold can be naturally produced by poop thanks to a tiny intestinal germ carrying a gold fragment called "Bacyllococcus Aureus". The following experiment succeeded, but only because he accidentally sucked Cattivik's supply of gold dust along with the sewage.
In the second Ace Ventura movie, the motivation for the bad guys to want to get rid of the peaceful tribe is to get their hands on their guano-rich lands, thereby giving them a chance to make a killing on the fertilizer market.
Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome: Bartertown is fueled by methane, a byproduct of fecal decomposition. This choice of fuels was clearly made just for the arguments that could result.
Mad Max has it explained to him by Aunty Entity and her Mook:
Mad Max: What's the energy source...oil, natural gas?
Aunty Entity: Pigs.
Mad Max: Pigs? You mean pigs like those? Bullshit.
Aunty Entity: Pigshit.
Mad Max: What?
The Collector: Pig shit. The lights, the machines, the vehicles all run on a high powered gas called methane. Methane comes from pig shit.
At the end of Pete's Dragon, having seen his boss's plans to chop Elliott into dragon-based curealls fail spectacularly, the Big Bad's crony resorts to pestering him for shed scales, fallen-out hair, etc.
In Hop, E.B. the Easter Bunny is shown to poop jelly beans.
In Pacific Rim, a black market has emerged around harvesting the bodies of dead Kaiju, each part with various purposes. A shifty salesman sells kaiju bone powder as an male potency drug, and his boss claims that one cubic meter of kaiju poop contains enough phosphorus to fertilize an entire field.
In Dean Koontz's The Bad Place, Frank sometimes shifts to a world covered in gigantic worker bugs. It turns out the bugs have been genetically engineered to eat dirt from mines and excrete red diamonds.
Bobby: Bug shit.
The novel Camelot 30K has the keracks, one-eyed centimeters-long prawns (with an ExpyKing Arthur society) who have around a hundred orifices... each of which excretes an element in the periodic table.
In Shatterglass by Tamora Pierce, a magical accident results in the creation of a small living glass dragon named Chime, who likes to eat glass-coloring agents and then pukes up (or, more politely, breathes out) pretty colored glass shapes. Her owner makes necklaces out of them. She also makes little marble-looking whorls which are her puke, molded glass flames are her attempt to breathe fire like a normal dragon, a spray of needles which is how she actually defends herself, and lumpy glass rounds that are her dung.
In the Miles Vorkosigan book A Civil Campaign, there's an example in "butterbugs". Miles' brother, Mark and his Mad Scientist employee genetically engineer these beetles that spit up a substance that is sort of a bland butter, but tastes delicious when given some flavoring and the characters remark on the disconnect between how good it tastes and how disgusting its origin is (not helped by Mark serving it to people before telling them what they are eating, or the fact that the butterbugs are the ugliest insect in existence).
Harry King made his fortune collecting and sifting trash for useful items — including white dog poo, which is a valuable resource in the tanning industry. This is essentially Truth in Television, even the bit about the dog poo. He's also got the urine market cornered: vital for tanning, etc. Not for nothing is he known as "King of the Golden River".
Salamanders are small lizard-like animals that absorb sunlight, deriving nutrients from its octarine wavelengths. Other wavelengths of light are excreted in the normal way, making them useful for illumination or (if startled), as flashbulbs for iconographers.
Spice in Dune is formed via the excretions of the sand trout mixed with water. This is actually an extremely important plot point, since everyone trying to create a second source of the Spice focuses on the giant Sand Worms instead of actual source.
In Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer, copper, gold, silver, and a bunch of other metals were actually dragons' poop.
In My Teacher Is an Alien, one of the last books has these human characters interacting with The Federation, whose members are non-humanoid aliens. At one point they eat something that is really really delicious, but what it actually is is horribly disgusting. I don't think it was ever said what it was, but it was likely something like an excretion of a disgusting-looking animal.
It's a fungus. This in itself is fine; after all, we humans eat mushrooms all the time. But then the kids learn what it grows on, which prompts an epic spit take. And yes, that part is left up to the reader's imagination.
Mentioned in A Song of Ice and Fire. There is a common joke about Lord Tywin, that he shits gold (The Lannister family being golden haired, disgustingly wealthy and Tywin himself having gold flecked green eyes and often wearing gold plated armour) but after his son Tyrion kills him on the privy and his vital functions... complete, it turns out that "Lord Tywin Lannister did not, in the end, shit gold".
In the Starfist novel Technokill by Dan Cragg, the alien birds swallow pebbles to help them digest foods, similar to prehistoric dinosaurs. When they excrete the stones, they have been pressurized into gemstones. Unfortunately, the rest of the waste is so toxic that it's impossible for humans to get close to them without serious physical harm.
The 13 Clocks had a woman who cried gemstomes whenever she was sad. Unfortunately by the time the heroes came around, her tears dried up completely due to people telling her sad stories so much. However... she also cries gems when she's laughing hard only for them to turn back into water after two weeks. Long enough for the heroes' purpose.
The Wishing-Table, the Gold-Ass, and the Cudgel in the Sack, a Fairy Tale collected by The Brothers Grimm, features a donkey that does poop and puke gold if you tell it to.
In Animorphs, the secret alien spaceship held inside Area 51 is... an Andalite cess pit. All toilet waste on board Andalite spaceships gets put into a capsule and fired into a star. This one apparently missed, crashed on earth, and has been a highly guarded secret ever since. The humans are blissfully unaware, however.
In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, glitterstim spice, the Fantastic Drug on which many a vast criminal fortune (including Jabba the Hutt's) has been built, is the poop of a species of underground spiders that live on only one planet in the galaxy.
And in the New Jedi Order series, prisoners captured by the Yuuzhan Vong are sometimes fed in this way. The Vong find it amusing. The prisoners try not to think about it, since the alternative is starvation.
An insectoid race called the Vratix secrete a chemical critical to the manufacture of Bacta, which is used in the medical field.
The Lando Calrissian Adventures features a race called the Oswaft, who dwell exclusively in hard vacuum and look an awful lot like titanic manta rays. Their secretions are actually more valuable than gold; they can produce nearly any pure element or crystal on command, including ultra-rare gems of astonishing perfection and size. Naturally this attracts the baddies' attention. The Oswaft themselves take this about the same way as you would if a bunch of tiny sentient aliens showed in your bathroom to watch you poop, threatened you with death if you flushed, then went to war over the bowl.
The plot behind A Second Chance at Eden, a prequel to The Reality Dysfunction was set into motion when the living habitat was found to have been filtering and stockpiling precious metals as a byproduct of its asteroid mining/eating. The conspirators had planned to steal as much as they could by replacing a spaceship's parts with solid gold and platinum.
In Perdido Street Station, there's a new drug going around New Crobuzon called dreamshit. Isaac feeds it to a strange caterpillar he has because it's the only thing it's interested in eating. It turns out that dreamshit is made from the secretions of captive adult slake-moths, which they use to feed their larvae. Slake-moths are huge, phasing, thought-eating monsters, and raw dreamshit is digested souls. And Isaac's caterpillar grows up.
The dreamshit Isaac feeds the caterpillar is cut with various other things, so it's not as pure as "milk" from an adult moth. This is stated to warp the baby somewhat.
Also, the insect-headed khepri craft ornate sculptures and architecture from the pliable goop they exude after consuming colorberries.
The Retief short story "Internal Affairs" features a gigantic lifeform whose waste products include rubies and emeralds.
Among the freaky purpose-built creatures designed by Gaea in John Varley's Gaea Trilogy, Titan, Wizard, and Demon, were some that "excreted" useful finished goods, such as road-building critters that shat asphalt, or living film-processors that ingested raw filmstock and excreted finished prints.
In Forward The Mage by Eric Flint, it turns out that a magic scroll that turns "base materials" into gold only works when a dwarf takes a dump on it, since there is no material more "base" than dwarf shit. When The Empire finds out, they start gathering dwarves, chaining them to toilets, and start experimenting on dwarves to find out how to replicate this (unaware that a magical scroll is required). When someone brings up that it's gold, yes, but it's made from dwarf shit, the guy that recommends this plot states that gold may as well be dwarf shit, for how many dwarf slaves that they send to the mines.
This is brought up in the sequel The Philosophical Strangler, where this project is still going strong, and The Empire is devoting its top scientific and magical experts to the task of discovering how to replicate the process.
Aahz mentions a literal example in Myth-ion Improbable: a solid gold deer dropping he'd seen for sale at the Bazaar. He'd also seen a piece of gold elk antler, and cites a number of other stories (possibly apocryphal) of creatures that laid, shed, or excreted gold.
The Star Trek: The Original Series novel The Tears of the Singers by Melinda M. Snodgrass. The Singers are seal-like aliens who secrete valuable crystals at the time of their death.
The novel Brightness Falls from the Air by James Tiptree, Jr. Tiny, pixie-like beings are tortured to death for their tears, which have a valuable property, either narcotic or aphrodisiac.
In Damon Knight's short story "The Big Pat Boom" (1963), alien visitors to Earth become extremely interested in the artistic value of cow pies, resulting in the eponymous phenomenon. Cow pats become enormously valuable, with collectors paying huge amounts for whirls, swirls and "double whorls". When the boom ends, dealers in cowpies are left with a pile of, well...yeah.
The Otto Stahl books by Leo Kessler begin with the Villain Protagonist being given a literal 'shit detail' where he empties latrines from the Seigfried Line across the French border as an insult. Otto finds a way to turn a profit by selling this ready-made fertilizer to French farmers in exchange for food he can sell on the black market in Nazi Germany.
In Journey to the West according to the horse-dragon Yo Lung, a few droplets of a dragon's urine can turn grass into a longevity-granting mushroom or turn a whole pond of carps into dragons.
The second Sir Apropos of Nothing book includes mention of the now-extinct Rockmuncher trolls, who consumed ordinary rock. When they ate rocks heavy with valuable ore, they literally shat gold.
A Body Horror example occurs in Orion Arm, the second book of Julian May's Rampart Worlds trilogy. In a Crapsack World future run by The Hundred Concerns criminals are imprisoned in the so called Coventry prison towns. Tourism is allowed (although your insurance is invalidated) and one club displays an alien lifeform that licks silver nitrate deposits for nourishment, only to crap out the silver in the form of a large sphere. It turns out that the alien lifeform didn't start out that way, it's a human convict that fell afoul of the gangs that run the prison and was transformed using a sample of DNA from a real alien.
Seen quite a bit over the long run of Perry Rhodan, unsurprisingly so given the wide variety of alien life encountered. Among the more conspicuous uses for byproducts of some alien metabolism or other have been nigh-invincible armor (produced by an almost literal Horde of Alien Locusts) for the starships of another alien civilization and droplets of solidified psionic energy that could be used as-is to give anybody with even a hint of latent talent temporary psychic powers.
Bezoar stones are foreign masses that have gestated in the gastrointestinal tract. They were highly prized as a protection against poisons until their effectiveness was debunked. In Harry Potter it turns out they only work against magic poisons.
In "Paté De Foie Gras," a short story by Isaac Asimov, government scientists stumble upon a mutant goose that lays golden eggs. The story purports to be true, and written as fiction for national security reasons. It's also a puzzle story - the scientists are looking for a way to get the goose to reproduce so they can perform more invasive tests. There's a way to do so, and finding it is literally left as an exercise for the reader.
In The Dark Tower, the Old Gods pissed on the desert and created mescaline, at least according to Cort.
Sword Art Online: Kirito and Lizbeth go after a crystal dragon (which is not Jesus) in order to obtain a rare metal ore to forge Kirito's new sword. Turns out the dragon eats crystals, so the ore is simply a...recycled by-product...of its digestive processes. Lizbeth reacts accordingly.
Fablehaven has Viola, the giant cow who takes up the entire barn and is still growing. When Seth asks what they do with her cow patties, Grandma says they use it as fertilizer, which enables them to grow multiple harvests in one year and grow plants that shouldn't even be in the climate. Tanu, the potion master, mentions offhand that anything from Viola could be used for magic, be it hair, blood, milk, or dung.
Live Action TV
Subverted in SeaQuest DSV. Morale and supply officer Ben Krieg discovers beautiful glowing pellets on the sea bed, which he dubs "Krieglite" and immediately begins planning to market as gemstones. Gold Fever sets in among quite a bit of the crew and Krieg and others have collected considerable supplies of the pellets to take back to land by the time the analysis from the science officer comes in: It's fish poop, the glow is bioluminescent and temporary, and when exposed to air it rapidly starts to decompose, with stinky consequences.
In an episode of Doctor Who, there was an fly-like species who traded for food. As the Doctor explained, "they feed off what others leave behind...From their...behind...if you see what I mean. Perfectly natural, they are flies!"
In the classic serial "The Caves of Androzani", the highly valuable life-extending drug spectrox is made from something produced by the bats dwelling in the titular caves. The exact nature of the substance is never explained; however, antidote to spectrox toxaemia is the milk of the queen bat, which the Doctor uses to save Peri's life at the cost of his own. His Heroic Sacrifice takes on a bit of fridge hilarity when you realise that the Fifth Doctor's last act was to milk a bat.
In Farscape, pulse weapon ammunition is somehow made from large tubers, which also have mind-enslaving effects for most people when they eat them... but not Hynerians like Rygel. Their digestive system converts the root into the explosive oil. The result: explosive urine. This from a species that also normally farts helium (the squeaky-voice gas) when they are nervous.
In one episode of Round the Twist, Linda Twist meets a man who owns an ice-cream van, and discovers his secret; he keeps a boy in the back of his truck who can produce the most delicious ice-cream...out of his nose.
One of the lyrics in "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "C.N.R." has the following line regarding Charles Nelson Reilly:
He ate his own weight in coal, excreted diamonds every day.
The ancient Aztecs called gold "shit of the gods". Makes at least somewhat sense. And if the same source is correct, the Quechua (Inca) called gold "sweatdrops of the sun" and silver "tears of the moon."
In Persian mythology, amber is the feces of a three-legged donkey demigod.
In some myths, the firebird (not the phoenix, although it does have healing tears) produced hundreds of high-quality pearls from its beak as it sang, usually letting them fall on poor people so they could sell them.
In Japanese folklore when the gods favored a village they would shit gold in its fields and piss sake in its well.
Another tale tells of a holy man who ate only pine needles and shat rice.
The Kalevala said that the Finnish hero Väinamöinen's tears turned into pearls. Also, when the Sampo was smashed in pieces, the pieces that sank into the sea became its riches, while the pieces that drifted ashore became riches of the land.
Baltic mythology also suggests that amber is the tears of the sea-goddess Jurate, as well as bits and pieces from her home. Perkunas, the god of thunder, beat her and smashed her castle when he found out she was having an affair with a mortal fisherman.
There is a fairy tale of a girl whose mouth produced gemstones whenever she spoke. A prince or noble of some sort wants to marry her for this ability... until she takes a vow of silence. A similar fairy tale specifies that the girl gains this ability because she was kind to an old lady who turned out to be a fairy in disguise, testing peoples' generosity. When her vain and avaricious sister learns how she gained this remarkable capability, she sets out to find the "old lady" herself. And she does, too, but her greed gets the better of her and she gives herself away. Having failed the fairy's test, she is instead enchanted to have toads and slugs tumble from her lips when she speaks. Bet she learned to shut up fast.
In the mythology of Hawaii, the princess Hainuwele was always retreating to a private place and coming back with jewelry, dishes, and other precious items. Some greedy people killed her to raid her private stash. They discovered only a privy, as she had been defecating the valuables.
There is a fairy tale of three brothers who do good deeds and are rewarded with magical items, which are stolen by a greedy innkeeper when the elder two show them off, and the youngest wins them back by using his gift to beat the fear of God into the innkeeper. The second son's gift was a donkey that "produced gold coins from both ends" on command (the innkeeper swaps it out with an ordinary donkey, which when commanded to produce gold... produces something else).
There's also a Charles Perrault's fairytale, Donkeyskin, which starts by talking about a similar donkey and how it was an entire kingdom's economic base. He gets killed, although how that affected the country is never mentioned.
Parodied in an Italian fairy tale: the main character's donkey can apparently shit golden coins, but only because he... hid them there before. However his two guillable friends really thinks that is a gold-pooping donkey and buy it for a high price. To add insult to injury, when they protest because the donkey wasn't magical at all, he chews them out for mistreating the beast and making it unable to produce more gold. Played straight by another fairy tail where an ogre owns, among various treasures, a gold-pooping donkey.
In Harari folklore, spotted hyenas attack and eat wandering djinns on their nightly forays into the city, and supposedly excrete the inedible remains, which happen to be gemstones and gold, in their dens.
Monster Manual V introduces "Gem Scarabs", cat-sized beetles with iridescent gemstones set in their carapaces. The beetles use these to cast low-level spells, but they lose this power if slain. The gems are still valuable, however, so it's worth it to hunt the beetles to harvest them.
Exalted has the Beasts of Resplendent Liquid - a type of magical, immortal dinosaurs that eat opium and pee liquid heroin.
The Beasts actually purify and excrete various substances, depending on the breed. Their original purpose was to be the ultimate pharmacologist's friend (and a precious few that produce other substances are still around). The heroin producers are simple the least rare and best-known.
A Lunar with Scorpion and Toad Mastery can excrete any drug or poison they've ever consumed. While it's supposed to be used for combat, the potential for moneymaking schemes is obvious, and the book the Charm's featured in mentions that the less military uses got a lot of exercise in the First Age.
In the RPG Immortals: The Invisible War, the most holy of Pride Dracuul speak solely in long thin strips of jade that have their words engraved on them. Dracuul use these in building their temple walls.
In Infernum, the Carthenay have an ability called... well, "Shit Gold." It specifies that the coins created can come from "any orifice," but... yeah.
Judges Guild's Field Guide to Encounters Volume 2 had monsters called Tinklers:
Holy Tinkler: Urinates holy water.
Tinkle 1: Excretes 6-36 copper pieces per day.
Tinkle 2: Lays gold pieces when on the ground.
Undead Bane: Lays silver nuggets with holy symbols on them.
Unholy Tinkle: Urinates unholy water.
In 7th Sea, Dracheneisen is seemingly an indestructible metal. It is actually a ceramic made from fossilized dragon poop.
Shadowrun supplement The Grimoire. When creating magic items, a magician could reduce the difficulty of the enchantment by using exotic materials, such as "bodily fluids from a dragon".
Dragon: You want me to do WHAT in this cup!
In the German board game Ursuppe (Primordial Soup), each player organism needs to eat markers of the other colors and poops out markers of it's own color.
The Binding of Isaac has literal golden poop, which is much rarer than normal poop but always drops money when destroyed.
After the main storyline of Borderlands 2 expansion Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep, the Queen Butt Stallion can crap out loot when you feed her eridium.
In the intro for Brain Dead 13, Fritz's snot, picked from his nose, acts as a substitute for bubble gum that fixes Dr. Neurosis' computer and can cause trouble for Lance very quickly.
The Fairy Drop key item in Breath of Fire IV is a fairy's poop. You need it to reforge the King's Sword.
After doing some bugfixing in Dwarf Fortress, Toady accidentally released a version of .31.20 with some test data still in the coding... such that poultry laid iron chairs instead of eggs. Due to the recent changes in how minerals were distributed, a lot of players bootlegged this version for the sake of having an alternate source of precious iron for their forges.
However, with a little modding you can make poultry (or any animal) lay whatever you want. Like bars of steel, gold, or adamantine.
An early Eamon adventure has a monster which, when killed, leaves behind a turd of solid gold.
The fish in Insaniquarium defecate coins, stars, and even diamonds, all worth money.
An unlockable cheat in Lego Indiana Jones allows camels to poop out studs, the game's currency.
The currency in DS game Livly Garden is called "doo doo." They are jewels that are visibly excreted by the pets you raise.
It's learned in the original Lunar: The Silver Star that dragon poop consists of humongous diamonds. After obtaining a sample, one of your starting characters is rich enough to start his own item shop.
Quark: Why is it you humans prize those things? Don't you know they're made from my sh... Oh, what's the use! Here... take a look. This is the diamond!
MapleStory seems to mock this trope with the item "The Legendary Gold Poop Hat". What's sad is that this item is in a series of three items: Pairing it with an item based on flies makes flies circle around your character, while there is a purely aesthetic item along with it known as the "Poo Stick". No, I am not making this up. Yes, they are Exactly What They Say on the Tin.
The final "boss" of the first WarioWare has Wario going after a treasure, which is revealed to be this.
In World of Warcraft the crystal Azsharite, found only in the cliffs of Azshara, is a highly energetic and rare material. As it turns out, it's the excretions of cliff giants who, due to having decades between bowel movements, tend to have ones that are very... concentrated.
In the original game it was highly valued for use in demon-hunting weapons; following the Cataclysm, goblins have deemed it an ideal goblin energy source, i.e. powerful and prone to sudden and unplanned explosions.
Bonus humor can be found in certain formations of Azsharite which take the form of humanoids in various states of terror. Looting one during quests can reveal a note concerning how foolish they were to go hunting a giant's leavings.
In Spelunky HD, sacrificing a Golden Idol to Kali spawns a Golden Monkey that poops gems and gold nuggets.
Myoopi,the cute critter in Anime News Nina poops candy. When sick, Myoopi winds up pooping cinnamon buns instead.
Starslip - Cirbozoids have so many weird things going on in their bodies that they produce pretty much anything you could ask for as waste products. Mr. Jinx references it occasionally: his exoskeleton secretes ritalin, he has a "smelting cloaca" which deals with unneeded iron, and in the most recent arc, when he stopped eating to combat a sudden, unexpected, and highly problematic growth spurt, his body responded by making its own sustenance.
One of the running gags in Twisted Kaiju Theater is that lemon sours are actually King Ghidorah poop. This doesn't always stop people from eating them.
Weapon Brown features schmoo, a delicious, tastes-like-whatever-you-want substance that turns out to be excreted from the tail of a sluglike creature known as The Garf.
In Wigu Adventures, Sheriff Pony of Butter Dimension poops excellent-quality vanilla ice cream.
To be a little more specific, at least one SCP is a barn owl which produces rare metals in its castings note owls puke up the parts of an animal they can't digest, like bones and skin depending on what its latest meal was.
After Roger fails to find his species's superpower in one episode, he poops himself out of shock when he crashes into a power station (trying to see if he could fly, possibly). What comes out is a solid gold turd... encrusted with diamonds. Said turd is found by some random people, where is proves to be an Artifact of Attraction with multiple people murdered fighting over it.
In another episode, when going through his reproductive cycle, Roger squirts out breast milk that, when combined with Francine's potato salad, is absolutely addictive. Pretty soon Stan has him gorged to the point of bursting and hooked up to a milking machine 24/7.
Zoidberg always hacks up stuff when he has grit in his throat. In "Bendin' in the Wind", Leela and Amy think it's disgusting, until they notice the "stuff" is actually beautiful pearls. Keeping in tune with his resemblance to various aquatic species - that's how pearls are really made.
Zoidberg thinks they're disgusting too; when Leela and Amy start cooing over how beautiful the pearls are, he says "Eeew, you're touching them!"
Dark matter, a prime starship fuel, is Nibblonian poo.
The addictive soft drink Slurm turns out to be the excrement of the queen of a hive of alien slugs. Interestingly, it's possible for humanoids to be turned into one of said queens (though the resulting Slurm is said to have a crappy taste) and said queen appears to be addicted to Slurm herself... Fry does not suffer the effects of I Ate What? even after finding out what Slurm is (He does look disgusted at one point, but not enough to actually stop drinking the stuff). During the episode, we hear that toothpaste in the Futurama universe is made from some other alien species that the Slurm Queen does not even want to mention.
There's also the episode where ambergris (whale vomit - see Truth in Television below) is an important plot point.
And while less valuable, postage stamp glue is made from toad mucus.
Similarly Bender occasionally shits bricks at hilarious moments.
Don't forget to give it a blast from your spice weasel! As spice weasels are refillable, with several spices sold by a Neptunian Emeril Lagasse parody for the specific purpose of refilling spice weasels, this may or may not be an example.
A Sufficiently Advanced Alien in South Park appears to the children as a taco... that poops ice cream on the kids' suggestion, after the alien tried countless other forms that they didn't like. Squick factor aside, it would probably be delicious. And Cartman is indeed shown eating the ice cream while the aliens check on the status of his probe.
Robot Chicken has an example from the Richie Rich/Cribs sketch. Rather than golden poop, Richie Rich appears to literally shit bars of gold, leading to some... difficulty on his part.
Teen Titans gives us NuFu, a sentient alien tofu creature bent on stealing the Earth's cows as an energy source. Part of its plan to accomplish this involves setting up a fast-food restaurant, "Mega Meaty Meat", whose entire menu (and manager!) is fake meat made of NuFu's "by-products."
Humorously subverted in a wartime Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies, where the goose that ONCE laid golden eggs is now patriotic and laying something even more valuable to her country: ALUMINUM eggs! Which she donates to the war effort before going back to laying more.
The Smurfs has the chicken that lays painted Easter eggs in the Season 9 episode "Painter's Egg-cellent Adventure".
Adventure Time has Finn and Jake ending up in a pile of bananas at the start of "Return to the Nightosphere," and constantly wonder why they ended up in it. The next episode, "Daddy's Little Monster," shows that one of the demons of the Nightosphere poops bananas. Out his ears. Fortunately, they find the footage of this before Jake bit into one of the bananas...
The alcohol in most alcoholic beverages is the waste product of yeast (for the most part brewer's yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiaenote Literally "sugar-fungus of beer") feeding on sugars during the fermentation process. The process for making sake and other "rice wines" also uses an additional fungus (Aspergillus oryzae, which releases enzymes that break down the starch into simple sugars the Saccharomyces can further ferment into alcoholnote All alcohol produced from starchy rather than sweet source material more or less requires this additional step; it's just that beer and whiskey malt the grain—i.e. allow it to sprout—which releases the plant's native enzymes. You don't need to malt all the grain, but some malt needs to go in to supply the enzyme.) and pulque (a traditional fermented Mexican drink, made from agave sap) uses a bacterium, but it's the same general idea.
The same process causes yeast-leavened breads to rise. Again, Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the microbe responsible. And yes, it is the exact same process: fermentation takes glucose and other simple sugars and transforms it into ethanol and carbon dioxide. In alcohol production, you're looking for the ethanol, while the CO2 is simply allowed to escape (unless you're making sparkling wine or certain types of beer; even there, you often run two separate fermentations, one to produce the alcohol, and a second refermentation with added sugar to create the bubbles), while in baking you want the gas while letting the alcohol boil off in the oven. So, to be crude as possible: in alcohol production, you want yeast poop, and in baking, you want the yeast farts.
Breweries and bakeries often used to set up shop next to each other. Why? Because brewers could give/sell the bakers the yeast-laden scum from the production of ale to the bakers. The bakers in turn would use it to leaven their bread: the scum, called "barm", was easier to handle and produced what many believed was a better-tasting product than the earlier method (making sourdough with a starter that had to be constantly maintained). Incidentally, this is how we get the barm cake.
Yeast is also the source of famous Australian food Vegemite, and before that, famous British food Marmite. Both are made of leftover yeast from beer production.
Ambergris. Whale Vomit. What isn't vomited up, is in fact shat out the other end. Historically used in perfumes, incense, and even food. Alternatives are available, but that doesn't stop it from being worth $20 a gram.
Most people think of chicken eggs as baby chickens who haven't hatched, but most aren't fertilized, which essentially makes them hen menstruations. It also comes out of the hen's cloaca, which is where everything a chicken excretes comes from.
Guano is a name for the excrement of seabirds, bats, and seals. Until the late 19th century it was a valuable resource in the production of fertilizers and explosives, enough to trigger the Chincha Islands War and the War of the Pacific.
Horse manure is one constituent of molds used for casting bronze. It goes back as far as ancient Ireland, but it's still used today. Also, it's pretty watertight, making it a good filler for removable doors in flood-walls. And, like guano, it's a great fertilizer that is also 100% organic.
Bees eat nectar and then vomit it back up several times. After it dries out, it's honey. This is only a partial example, as it's not a waste product. It's supposed to be eaten.
Kopi luwak, the most expensive drink in the world (around $300/gram), is made primarily of coffee beans harvested from the feces of a certain species of civet. Fable II contains a reference to kopi luwak: the most powerful coffee drink in the game is called "Mustela," and it's created by the same process, only involving weasels.
Another coffee company does the same thing, but with elephants.
Leather tanning used to be made with the chemicals present in animal urine and excrement. It is now made with tannins extracted from tree bark or with mineral salts.
Pearls are formed when a bivalve gets an irritation in part of its body and attempts to seal it off by forming said valuable item. This is the same process that creates boogers.
Chemically speaking, lanolin is a wax secreted by wool bearing animals. In layman's terms, it's sheep sweat.
The nest used for birds'-nest soup is made from the bird's saliva.
Phosphorus (the active ingredient in match heads) was first isolated by boiling urine with charcoal and sand. And since it's becoming apparent that in the coming years the world supplies of the stuff are going to run short, there have been toilet seats developed for the future needs that actually isolate and collect it from the urine, ready for sale.
A Belgian who visited the Maasai of Kenya in the 1950s commented that their beer had a touch of ammonia to its taste. This was, he explained, because they washed the container in cow urine.
It used to be used for a number of reasons, including extracting saltpetre for gunpowder. Some English entrepreneurs became quite rich by collecting the stuff from farms and selling it in London. The story goes that these merchants were embarrassed about the source of their wealth, and would claim they imported wine or something similar, at which their listeners would express their incredulity by saying "You're taking the piss!"
The mushroom amanita muscaria, or fly agaric, contains a psychoactive drug. In Siberia and India, tribal shamans would eat it and then give his urine to everyone else (apparently it had less side effects once it had gone through his kidneys). In some parts of Siberia, the rich would buy the drug and then sell their urine to the poor.
Because urine fresh from a healthy urinary system is biologically sterile, it's been used for thousands of years as an improvised antiseptic. In some herding cultures, livestock-keepers traditionally use a bit of their own urine to cleanse the wound after gelding a male animal or cutting the umbilical cord of a newborn one.
Contrary to popular belief, peeing on a jellyfish sting does not help it heal, even if it is sterile. In fact, the ammonia in urine can actually make it worse. The best thing to do is to flush the stung area with hot salt water (NOT seawater).
The Aztecs would use warm urine on fresh wounds.
The Canadian military survived the first large-scale chlorine gas attack in World War I by urinating on cloths and holding it over their faces, after a medical officer pointed out the urine would crystalize the chlorine and prevent it from being inhaled.
Although trees don't poop, the valuable heartwood at the center of a tree gets its strength, and often its beauty, from the waste products and unneeded trace substances that accumulate there.
Symbiotic microorganisms are living off the fiber — cellulose, indigestible to humans — in your large intestine right now. Basically, they're eating your poo. And you're deriving useful vitamins from their metabolic waste products, so you're eating theirs.
Historically, Japanese cities were clean because there was a system in place for selling human wastes to be taken into the farmlands for fertilizer.
Manna from The Bible is interpreted by historians as having been a certain type of insect crap. Particularly amusing since all insects except locusts are distinctly non-kosher to eat, and crap of any kind is ritually unclean. (Obviously, honey is bee vomit; kashrut gives a special exception for honey.)
Bezoar stones are foreign masses that have gestated in the gastrointestinal tract. They were highly prized as a protection against poisons until their effectiveness was debunked.
Coprolites can provide valuable information to paleontologists about the dietary habits of extinct animals. With good reason, because they're fossilized poop.
Works for archaeologists and people too. This is how an unsavoury fact about ancient York was, er, unearthed. Study of fossilised turds revealed the Vikings were plagued by intestinal parasites like threadworms. No wonder they were so mean in battle...
Recycling everything they can out of the garbage they collected, Waste Management, Inc. (recognized by their WM logo) managed to double their revenue stream.
How do you make yogurt or sourdough? You take ordinary milk or dough, add specific kinds of bacteria, and wait for them to excrete their waste products into your food base.
Food is a basic necessity of life, and therefore can be considered extremely valuable even secondhand. Dung beetles are known for eating dung. Some eat only dung.
For that matter, many young animals intentionally eat poop from an older member of their species, allowing them to introduce needed symbiotic microorganisms (see above) to their digestive tracts. Likewise, many small animals with short digestive tracts will eat food, defecate it half-digested, then eat it again for a second run through their gut: a less-sanitary substitute for chewing one's cud.
The confectioner's glaze coating your Junior Mints is a mixture of alcohol and shellac. What's shellac? The excretion of the female lac bug (a "she-lac," if you will).
Same goes for apples. So remember kids, the only difference between the shiny apple and the dull apple is a liberal coating of beetle poop. Choose accordingly.
The gorgeous tropical beaches that vacationers walk barefoot upon are made up of fine sand, most of which was chewed off of reefs and then pooped out by parrotfish and other coral-munchers.
Oxygen. Plants basically exhale what they don't need for themselves of the stuff to get rid of it, yet most of today's animal life (including humans) would have serious trouble trying to function without it.
A better example is from ancient earth during the Great Oxygenation Event about 2.4 billion years ago. As organisms began to excrete oxygen as a waste product, it built to levels which were highly toxic to many organisms and caused a mass extinction so bad it was also called the Oxygen Catastrophe. The surviving organisms, however, found oxygen's role as an oxidizer in chemical reactions just so useful for their metabolism that it's tough to imagine a substitute that would have allowed the eventual richness of complex organisms. Even now, anaerobic creatures are usually really simple, like anaerobic bacteria and protozoans, or really weird and living in specialized habitats, like deep sea worms.
Antidote for snake bites can be made from snake venom. This is done by injecting it into blood or other living tissues and harvesting the biological defences produced.
Premarin, used for hormone-replacement therapy to alleviate menopause symptoms, is made by collecting estrogen and progesterone from the urine of pregnant horses. Note the name Pregnant mare urine.
Many modern day drugs and treatments would be uneconomic to produce except for the fact that humans have learned to genetically alter some microbes so that they effectively pee out the required product. Still a work in progress since it can't be used for everything - yet.
An ongoing research project at the University of Minnesota has been curing patients with harmful strains of colonic bacteria in their gut, by introducing benign bacteria from healthy donors' colons and letting them out-compete the harmful ones. One anonymous donor to the project has successfully cured ten out of ten recipients with his fecal bacteria, suggesting his poop really is a "solid gold" winner for gastrointestinal health.
The end product of the Cloaca machine, a machine that simulates the digestive tract in a bizarre fusion of art and science. The poops have sold for 1500 Euro...each.
An interesting thing about penicillin is that in its pure form it goes through your system very fast: you pee out 80% of a dose. In the early days of penicillin—when it was hard to produce—a person on penicillin would be required to collect his/her pee so the penicillin could be refined out and used again. Eventually, they figured out a chemical that would keep you from peeing it all out, allowing you to (1) take fewer, smaller doses of the stuff and (2) not have to collect your pee anymore...and then they figured out a way to produce penicillin cheaply (without the intervention of the yeast from which it was originally extracted), and the price of penicillin fell through the floor, and now in the unlikely event you get the stuff, you'll be peeing it out because nobody cares anymore.
Truth in Television in parts of the world where people burn animal or other dung for want of other fuel. Aldous Huxley, in his travel book Jesting Pilate, describes being hailed as a lord by a grateful woman when the elephant he is riding defecates copiously in front of her house.
Chris Ofili's infamous The Holy Virgin Mary, a collage of materials including elephant dung, is influenced in part by African tribes that regard this dung as a valuable product.