Difference Between Small Intestine and Large Intestine

Main Difference

Both the small intestine and large intestine are part of the digestive tract or the alimentary canal of the human body. They mainly provide functions like digestion and absorption of food and other nutrients. On the whole, digestive tract consists of these parts: mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and the anus, which is the external opening of the rectum. The small intestine is a longer tube, having a length around 4.5 to 7m. It is the longest part of the alimentary canal, though it is called the smaller intestine due to its width which is around 3.5 to 4cm. The small intestine is the very next stop of the food passing through the stomach. On the other hand, the large intestine is a smaller tube, having length around 1.5m. The name it has got is because of its width of 4-6 cm. The large intestine is the last stop of the digestive tract; the feces are eliminated through the anal canal, which is the part of the large intestine.

Small Intestine vs. Large Intestine

Small intestine is the longest part of digestive tract measures about 4.5 to 7 meter whereas large intestine measures about 1.5 to 2 meter. Small intestine has slender diameter as as compared with large intestine which has a diameter spherical 4-6cm. Small intestine major function is to absorb nutritional vitamins from the meals whereas large intestine take up water, salts and retailer feces. Small intestine have microscopic finger-like projections known as villi whereas in large intestine villi are absent. Small intestine is break up into duodenum, jejunum, ileum whereas huge intestine is break up into caecum, colon, rectum and anus. Haustrations are present in large intestine nevertheless are absent in small intestine.

Comparison Chart

BasisSmall IntestineLarge Intestine
Length & WidthThe small intestine is the longest part of the alimentary canal, which has a length of around 4.5 to 7m and width of around 3.5 to 4.5 cm.Large Intestine is the last part of the digestive tract, which has a length of around 1.5m and width of around 4 to 6cm.
Main Function90% of the whole digestion and absorption of food happens in the small intestine.The major functions large intestine has to perform are the absorption of water from the reaming indigestible food and the production of vitamin B and vitamin K from the bacteria living in there.
PartsSmall intestine mainly comprises of three parts; duodenum, jejunum, and ileum.Large intestine mainly comprises of these parts: cecum, colon, rectum, and anal canal.
Villi & Circular foldsVilli and circular folds are present in the small intestine.They are absent in the large intestine.

What is Small Intestine?

The small intestine is the longest part of the alimentary canal, which comprises of several other tubes like esophagus, pharynx and large intestine. The name coined ‘small’ for this tube is because of its width, which is around 3.5 to 4.5 cm. This tube has a length of around, 4.5 to 7m, the food passing through the stomach passes through this intestine for the purpose of comprehensive digestion. If it is about digestion and absorption of food, which is the main function both the large intestine and small intestines are associated with, then small intestine has more to do as 90% of the whole digestion and absorption of food occurs here. The remaining 10% takes place in large intestine and stomach. The food particles after passing through the small intestine then enter the large intestine. As small intestine is coiled in the abdomen, it possesses two types of ingrowths; circular folds and villi, which slow down the movement of food. Therefore, the food remains a longer time in the small intestine as compared to the large intestine. Small intestine mainly comprises of three parts; duodenum, jejunum, and ileum.

What is Large Intestine?

Large Intestine is the last part of the digestive tract in the human body, which starts from the mouth and ends through the canal. The most basic function associated with large intestine is the digestion and absorption of food as it is associated with the small intestine, but the major functions it has to perform is the absorption of water from the reaming indigestible food and the production of vitamin B and vitamin K from the bacteria living in there. The Large intestine is the last stop, which comes after the food passes through the small intestine. The name ‘large’ for this intestine is because of its broadness; it has a diameter of around 4 to 6 cm. On the other hand, it is quite shorter in length as compared to the small intestine; it measures around 1.5m. Unlike small intestine, villi and circular folds are absent in it. Large intestine mainly comprises of these parts: cecum, colon, rectum, and anal canal. The rectum is the last stop before the waste material or feces are eliminated from the human body through the anal canal.

Small Intestine vs. Large Intestine

  1. The small intestine is the longest part of the alimentary canal, which has a length of around 4.5 to 7m and width of around 3.5 to 4.5 cm. On the other hand, Large Intestine is the last part of the digestive tract, which has a length of around 1.5m and width of around 4 to 6cm.
  2. 90% of the whole digestion and absorption of food happens in the small intestine, whereas the major functions large intestine has to perform are the absorption of water from the reaming indigestible food and the production of vitamin B and vitamin K from the bacteria living in there.
  3. Small intestine mainly comprises of three parts; duodenum, jejunum, and ileum, whereas large intestine mainly comprises of these parts: cecum, colon, rectum, and anal canal.
  4. Villi and circular folds are present in the small intestine while they are absent in large intestine.
Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White

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