Yes, it’s true. They eat not only dirt, but newspaper, wood, starch, charcoal, and lumps of clay.
They don’t do it as a joke. Thy eat these non-foods because they feel they must. They have what is known as a craving for them. Nobody knows why such cravings exist or what need is filled when these strange items are eaten.
The behavior of rats may provide a clue, however. Scientists have found that rats often eat clay when they feel sick to their stomachs. The clay appears to make them feel better.
That should come as no surprise to people who take such medicines as Rolaids of Kaopectate. The basis of these medicines is clay.
While doctors do not understand the craving to eat non-foods, they have given it a name. They call it “pica.”