On the 4th of December 1999, Bruce Young, an experimental morphologist at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania published an article that shocked even the most experienced snake handlers. Young’s article was proof that snakes fart!
Previously, it was believed that snakes were limited to spraying musk, but the experimental morphologist’s findings changed all that. His research held even more shocking facts. Let’s take a look at the Sonoran coral snake (Micruroides euryxanthus) and the western hook-nosed snake (Gyalopion canum) – two snakes that fart so hard, they go flying!
Do Snakes Fart?
Snakes do not pass gas as we do. Instead, research has shown that some species “induce an expulsion of air from the cloacal vent which results in an audible popping sound.” It is important to note that Young’s research was centered on only two snake species but there is reason to believe that several other species have this ability as well.
Why Do Snakes Fart?
According to reports, when Bruce Young selected one Sonoran coral snake and one western hook-nosed snake, he hung them up to a microphone in the lab. He did all he could to get the snakes to make the sounds he was sure he’d heard. Discover Magazine states that he was familiar with a wide range of sounds made by various snakes, but the two species made sounds that took him by surprise.
After a series of tries, Young found that the snakes only made that sound when he stroked, poked, or prodded them. He then realized that the snakes “farted” in response to being frightened.
How Do Snakes Fart?
Snakes fart through their cloacal glands. Andrew H. Price, a herpetologist working in natural resource management for Texas Parks states that each snake has a pair of cloacal scent glands and each gland is enclosed by longitudinal striated muscle.
Snakes fart by expelling air from their cloacal vents. This is done primarily by the M. Sphincter cloacae but other cloacal muscles might also be used. It is worth noting that these two species did not make the same type of sounds.
Discover the Snake that Farts So Hard it Goes Flying!
Let’s take a look at the difference between the cloacal sounds made by the Sonoran coral snake and the western hook-nosed snake.
Western hook-nosed snake
The western hook-nosed snake, which is also known as the western hook-nosed snake, shouldn’t be confused with the western hognose snake. Western hook-nosed snakes are a species of colubrid snakes that hardly ever grow past 11 inches. Their colubrid status means that they do not produce a lot of venom. The venom produced by western hook-nosed snakes is just enough to kill their prey. Western hook-nosed snakes feed mostly on spiders, centipedes, scorpions, and smaller snakes.
The “cloacal pops” produced by western hook-nosed snakes are low, consistent, and spaced out. However, depending on their levels of distress, a western hook-nosed snake can fart so hard that it goes flying!
Sonoran coral snake
Also known as the Arizona coral snake, the Sonoran coral snake is a venomous species of coral snake. It has a pattern of alternating red, black, and cream stripes.
The Sonoran coral snake doesn’t release its flatulence with as much force as western hook-nosed snakes, but they have a sound that is unique to them. Their cloacal pops are more variable. They start high and then drop rapidly.
Facts About Animals and Their Farts- Discover the Loudest and Smelliest
Several other animals are known to release flatulence but not all of them do this for the same reason. Here are some other animals that fart.
Sea Lions- The Animal with The Smelliest Fart
Sea lions are known for their notoriously smelly farts. According to various reports, their farts smell like rotten fish! This isn’t surprising, considering that sea lions eat fish of various species.
Birds- The Animal That Does Not Seem to Have Need to Fart
Due to their anatomical and physical build, birds do not need to fart. However, even though there is no evidence of birds farting in addition to them not needing to, various scientists believe that birds can fart and that some do. One reason for this is that talking birds often imitate humans burping or farting.
Hippos- The Animal with The Loudest Fart
According to multiple reports across the internet, hippos are the animals with the loudest farts. This isn’t surprising because the average hippo weighs over 3,300 pounds!
Bearded dragons, just like some other reptiles, fart. Their farts can give you hints about their health status. For example, if your bearded dragon cannot seem to stop farting or doesn’t seem to fart ever, it would be a smart idea to see a vet.
Zebras- The Animal That Farts A Lot
As funny as it sounds, zebras are animals that fart a lot- and there’s quite a reason. Zebras have a single chamber connected to their caecum. Due to this, zebras fart a lot. It is common for a zebra to fart when startled. It is even more common to watch them run and fart at the same time.
Rat keepers will all agree that rats fart at various times. In addition, the smell of their farts depends on their diets- just like humans. However, unlike humans, rats’ farts aren’t audible.
Everyone who has spent even a day with a dog probably knows that dogs fart. Just like other animals, it is important to pay attention to your pet’s gastrointestinal health.
Unlike dogs, cats are more elegant about their flatulence. More often than not, you won’t hear or smell your cat’s farts.
Even though a lot of animals pass gas, no other species apart from the western hook-nosed snakes farts with enough force to launch itself in the air. Its title “The Farting Snake” is well deserved. Luckily, not many snakes fart. Instead, most snakes spray musk as a defensive mechanism.
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