When we think of farting, or passing gas if you want to be more conservative, in pets, one of the first animals that springs to mind is certainly not a snake.
Dog owners will be the first to tell you that their pet’s tooting is a force to be reckoned with but you never hear a proud snake parent talking about their pet’s stench.
Snakes do fart but it isn’t at all similar to the way that humans would fart or many of our other pet companions. Snakes fart as a way of deterring predators, and they’re not the only animals to use an odor as a way of protecting themselves.
In this article, we are going to be looking at how and why snakes fart as well as looking at some more interesting information on this bodily function that spans across a lot of animals species.
What Is Farting?
OK, we aren’t trying to teach you something you already know; farting is, in the simplest terms, an expulsion of air from the back passage. Everybody knows that, however, not everyone is aware of why animals fart.
In most cases, farting is due to a build up of gases that are created by waste. Other air that becomes trapped in the digestive system such as air that is swallowed can cause farting too.
While it may be a little stinky and not the polite thing to do in certain social situations, there is no doubt that we all need to do it; imagine how bloated you’d be if you didnt’!
But, in some animals, snakes included, farting is less of a release of unnecessary gas and more of a way of preventing the snake from becoming dinner for another animal.
Why Do Snakes Fart?
When you are asked to think of a predatory animal, you might think about a snake. These creatures are often associated with biting and killing small animals, and many people are petrified of them because of their predatory abilities.
But it isn’t very often that snakes chow down on humans, although, if you’re into the world of the weird and wonderful, there have been a few confirmed cases.
But on the flip side, snakes are actually prey to a lot of other creatures and while we might not recognise this, our slithery friends have a great need for protection, in the wild.
Owls, bobcats, raccoons, snapping turtles, coyotes and alligators are just some of the animals that enjoy a snake-based meal.
However, when the snake feels threatened, it is entirely possible for him to emit a smelly gas from the cloaca to ward off prey.
How Do Snakes Fart?
In 2018, a book was released which detailed which animals farted and who were the worst offenders. As it turns out, elephants, seals and sea lions are among some of the smelliest fart producers on the planet.
This is largely to do with their slow metabolism, with a lot of time for gas to build up. Other creatures, like spiders are believed not to fart because of their liquid diet.
Snakes, however, fart but without the digestive association of many other animals.
When the snake feels as though it needs to defend itself, it will suck air into the cloaca (the opening where the snake’s reproductive organs are located and where the animal pees and poops from.
Once this air is inside, the snake can then force it out and give the potential predator a nose full of snake stink. As far as defence mechanisms go, it’s a pretty inventive one, yet one that seems to do the trick.
However, this is only true of certain snake species and some snakes will also poo as a way of warding of predators.
What About Gas Build Up in snakes?
As we have discussed, snakes are not likely to have a huge build up of gas as this is not a common trait of reptiles. It is typically mammals that experience farting in this way and some types of animal, birds for example, never fart.
While snakes don’t typically have a build up of gas in the intestines, that is not to say that it is impossible. There are some instances when your pet snake may experience excess air in the gut but it is unlikely to small very potent nor is it likely to be as obvious as human flatulence.
If snakes do have excess gas in the digestive system, this is likely because they have fungal, bacterial, viral or several other issues.
One of the most common causes is when a snake goes into brumation too quickly after eating a decent meal.
The snake would not have chance to digest this properly, therefore causing a build-up of bacteria which may then be emitted as farting.
To avoid such issues, it is important that snake owners ensure that their snake’s enclosure is kept at the correct temperature as this can help to prevent such problems.
However, if you do notice that your snake is suffering from excess gas, it is a wise idea to have him seen by your vet. You may need to take a sample of his poop so do be prepared to collect this and store it until your visit.
Snakes are very different to mammals in a lot of ways and one such way is that it is not normal for them to pass gas. Although there may be rare occasions where this happens, it is typically because there is a medical issue.
However, one of the most interesting things about snakes is that they will fart as a way of scaring of predators.
But these farts are not air that has built up inside their bodies but rather air which is sucked in by the snake and emitted when they feel threatened.