I was skinning a gopher so my cat can eat it (it was a pest and we didn't want to waste it). I thought its organs would fall out and make a mess, but that didn't happen. There was this sticky, transparent substance that surrounded its insides. What is this casing called? My dad said it was mucus but that isn't specific enough since there is mucus inside the stomach so I don't think they are the same.

I think this casing is found in all multicellular animals but I couldn't be sure.


1 Answer 1


Based on your reference to organs falling out and the overall description, I presume you're thinking of the abdominal cavity primarily, so there you'd be looking at the peritoneum or possibly the serous membranes of other organs (e.g., pleura, pericardium). These are membranous (in the general sense, not as a cell membrane) connective tissues covering the organs found in the abdomen and chest.

Other things you'll find underneath skin would include layers of fat, other connective tissues, muscle.

Here's a labeled image of a mouse dissection from Friedrich, L., Schuster, M., de Celis, M. F. R., Berger, I., Bornstein, S. R., & Steenblock, C. (2021). Isolation and in vitro cultivation of adrenal cells from mice. STAR protocols, 2(4), 100999.:

rodent dissection

You might also look for dissections of fetal pigs or cats, which are commonly used in laboratory demonstrations for students (more often cats longer ago, more often fetal pigs these days).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thank you for your great answer! I believe it is the peritoneum that I was observing. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 1:18

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