Animal Flatulence

I recently came across a video called “Everything You Wanted to Know About Animal Farts.” Of course, I had to watch it. This is not something I’ve spent any time thinking about before, but I was immediately intrigued. I suppose I just assumed that all animals fart. Guess what? Not all animals do!

Does It Fart?: The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence ...Big fact I learned: birds don’t fart! What??? The reason is that they do not have the bacteria in their guts that produces gas and food passes through their bodies quickly enough that gas doesn’t build up. Whoa! Octopuses don’t fart either. Nor do sea cucumbers. Some fish do fart, others don’t. Sloths don’t fart either, making them possibly the only mammal that doesn’t. The only other possible no-farting-mammals are bats; but scientists just don’t have a definitive answer to date.

I also learned that farts are used in a variety of ways, not just to pass gas. One species of lacewing, for example, actually stuns and kills its prey (termites) by farting on them! The Sonoran coral snake, on the other hand, uses its farts (more scientifically, cloacal pops) to scare away predators when threatened. Manatees use farts to control buoyancy. And the list of amazing fart facts goes on. See? Intrigued!

The zoologist referenced in the video, Dani Rabaiotti, also co-authored a book titled Does It Fart? The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence. Yes, I checked it out of the library. And so should you.