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Some questions have plagued humankind for our entire existence: What is the meaning of life? Are we alone in the universe? How are we to know right from wrong? Most importantly, do birds fart?
While we can’t offer definitive answers to the first three, we can safely tell you this: No, birds don’t fart.
If you still have questions (like, “Are birds unable to fart, or are they just unfailingly polite?”), read our guide to birds breaking wind.x
In theory, a bird could let loose a room-clearing blast of emissions if they wanted to — they have all the equipment for it (a mouth, digestive tract, and anus).
However, they simply have no need to do so. They don’t have the same type of gut bacteria that humans do, so they don’t produce intestinal gas in the same way that we do. If a bird suddenly needed to fart, it’s a good sign that something’s wrong with them.
What’s more, birds have much shorter digestive tracts than humans do. This means that even if they did have gas, there’s not much room for it to build up into something thunderous, so any flatulence would likely squeak out unannounced.
Many ornithologists believe that birds are capable of burping, but sadly, bird gas is still woefully under-studied in the 21st century. We don’t have proof that birds can belch, but given that they can do things like regurgitate food for their young, it’s likely that they have swallowed air that they’ll need to deal with one way or another.
This is an indictment of human curiosity and scientific progress, but there currently isn’t a field of study dedicated to learning which animals are capable of blowing off steam via their butts (although we are working on it).
As a result, information in this area is a bit unreliable because the data that we have is generally due to random observations, not dedicated study. Basically, we only know whether most animals fart based on whether a scientist has been lucky enough to be downwind of them at the time.
Some snakes not only fart, but they also do so aggressively in order to fend off predators.
Mammals are apparently the world’s biggest farters, with one exception: sloths. Sloths don’t fart, which is largely due to the fact that they digest food as slowly as they do anything else. They still produce the gaseous emissions that make up farts, but they reabsorb them into their bloodstream and release them via their mouths, which is why other animals call them, “fart breath.”
The jury is still out on many other species, though. Scientists who think about these things believe that amphibians don’t have strong enough sphincters to shoot farts out their butts, while those who study bats suspect that they poop too quickly for farts to form.
This depends on how you define the question, but generally speaking, it’s the animals that you’d suspect.
In terms of sheer size, whales can let loose impressive blasts. They have multiple stomach chambers, and they keep plenty of food in them at all times, which allows gas to build up. Then, they can release huge farts, which whale scientists have described as being “incredibly pungent.”
Elephants, rhinos, hippos, and other giant mammals can also unleash sonic butt booms. Chances are, if you’ve ever looked at a big animal and thought that they could peel the paint off the wall after eating a three-bean casserole, you were probably right.
Cow farts may literally pose an existential threat to life on this planet. Bovine flatulence is thought to be a huge driver of climate change, but some experts say that it’s actually cow burps that will kill us all, not farts.
While birds don’t fart, there are plenty of other animal species out there that do. The topic of flatulence may be a mere curiosity for some animals, but it can be an important field of study for others, so expect more information about animal farts to leak out over time.
Until then, though, you can surprise and delight your friends by pointing to every animal that you see and explaining whether it can fart.
Featured Image Credit By Pixabay
Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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