Regarding the TV show (possibly the comics) there are many instances where the walking dead are encountered eating their fill and one (2nd season) where one was opened up and a woodchuck was found in it's stomach. This shows the digestive tract must still work.

Where is all the zombie poop? And the smell of them must include dead food from the dead. Wouldn't it fill up their pants because we assume they did not take off their pants so neither their underwear. If one of the walkers had a colostomy bag does he have to empty it or does it fill up to his throat? If the dead have dentures, how do they chew their food?

Also, the same peristaltic waves that move the food through the digestive tract are present in the esophagus when swallowing... just nit picking I know.

  • 6
    It doesn't follow at all, just because they have stuff in their somatchs, that the "digestive tract must still work". It merely shows that stuff gets mechanically pushed from their mouths down their throats and into their stomachs, which is quite a feat, but not the full function of the digestive tract!
    – Andres F.
    Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 1:19
  • and do they need to pee?
    – zipquincy
    Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 17:14
  • Actually, the same peristaltic waves that cause food to travel from our esophagus, churned by our stomach, through our small and large intestine are involuntary muscle movements of the digestive tract. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peristalsis Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 5:17

4 Answers 4


In the season two episode, it can also be assumed that the walker they ended up cutting open wasn't necessarily in an early batch of walkers, thus there was a good chance that it still had digestive acids in its stomach at the time of death and regeneration. Thus, when it found and ate the woodchuck, the remaining acids set to work breaking down whatever fell into the stomach.

Insofar as the question regarding defecation, I'd say that that's possible assuming that they don't burst at the stomach first. If they continue to consume and consume, it's likely that any additional matter would be pushed down their digestive tract until expelled through that orifice in an unnatural (read, unassisted by muscles) kinda way.

But if/once they burst, I doubt that's likely, as it'll just spill out of their gaping stomach wound.

  • 4
    But where is all that poop? WHERE IS THE POOP?
    – Misha R
    Commented Sep 7, 2015 at 19:21
  • 1
    Cleaned up by the same forces that mow the lawns. Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 20:12

From The Walking Dead's Glen Mazzara Addresses Frequently Asked Questions From the Fans, he addresses this question:

No, they don't, they only have a brain telling them to eat.

  • So where does the food go? if they eat they must digest too...if so either it comes out digested or not. it was found in the walkers stomach (woodchuck) so it must be able to make it the rest of the way. Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 15:07
  • This is all for humor b.t.w. not to be taken seriously. Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 15:10
  • 7
    Traditionally, they don't digest. The food rots, but there's no digestion. TWD largely follows Romero's zombie 'rules', which (as described in Max Brook's Zombie Survival Guide) include the fact that zombie's don't digest, and if they eat too much, they will literally burst. It also mentions that food can be forced through the digestive tract towards the exit, and even out of the exit, but none of that tract functions.
    – Jeff
    Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 14:13
  • 1
    @Jeff: If they don't absorb nutrients from food, then where do they get energy from? Wouldn't the zombies just waste away to skin and bone after about 2-3 months of essentially not eating? Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 15:22
  • 2
    @Lèsemajesté: That's actually one of the things Max Brooks points out in The Zombie Survival Guide. That's one of the unanswered questions for zombies in general. Given that they produce no body heat, and that production of body heat is one of the primary uses of calories in the human body, it's likely their need to use energy is drastically reduced.
    – Jeff
    Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 16:26

I have a bit of an alternative answer to this ... if you eat a 100 percent meat, stock and blood diet (animals, of course), you will find you really do not need to poop very much at all.

For medical reasons, I ate a meat-only diet for two months earlier this year. It was astonishing how little I needed to go and when I did, how little there was (and I never felt bloated at all). I came to the conclusion that most poop is actually created by the consumption of plant sources that we cannot fully absorb. I have since had this confirmed by other people's experiences on the same diet.

Therefore, if a zombie only eats a small amount of human flesh and blood, they may actually never need to poop at all.

  • 3
    While this may be true for living humans, zombies are dead, which means that their organs are non-operative: No food processing whatsoever. Regardless of that, this is a very interesting information, didn't know that.
    – bitmask
    Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 0:07
  • 3
    Makes sense. Fecal matter is primarily fiber, of which there is little in meat. Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 0:28
  • Yes. Fecal matter is primarily the end products of digestion that can't be digested/broken down further/absorbed. Most of this solid matter is fibrous from carbohydrate sources. Also, if you are dehydrated, the body will recover water from fecal matter. It's not quite as efficient as the reclamation suits from Dune, but pretty good nonetheless.
    – JohnP
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 4:35
  • It is really convincing, But i really cannot believe that we will never have to poop if we eat 100% meat. It would be better if you state this answer with something (any records or articles )that stands for your statement. Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 11:31

In the Comics the Zombies Slow down during the winter almost suggesting that they have some type of body fluid going on. If the weather slows them down physically i'd have to say that they may indeed have some type of digestion system.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.