Scientists answer the age-old question: #DoesItFart?

  • 13/01/2017
Cow farts are bad for the environment (Getty)
Cow farts are bad for the environment (Getty)

In New Zealand, we tend to only care about animal flatulence when it comes from cows.

But overseas, they're getting together to compile a comprehensive list of every animal that lets rip.

The database not only records which creatures fart and which don't, but the quality of each species' flatulence.

For example, bobcats have "THE WORST" - in all-caps - farts, while Burmese python stinkers are "thick and… meaty? If it were a colour, it would be brownish-yellow."

They're bringing their efforts to wider attention under the hashtag #DoesItFart on social media.

Why? Because kids keep asking, says zoologist David Steen of Auburn University in Alabama.

"I don't know if animal flatulence questions can serve as a significant gateway to a greater appreciation of biodiversity, but it is always fun to see what captures people's attention," he told The Washington Post

The collaboration was kicked off by Dani Rabaiotti of London's Zoological Society. Her teen brother asked if snakes fart, so she asked Dr Steen, who confirmed, yes, they do.

"Snakes sometimes discharge faeces and musk as a defensive strategy, and this is often accompanied by what I would consider classic fart noises."

The publicly accessible spreadsheet is being compiled by Nicholas Caruso, a PhD candidate at Alabama University.

The list might not be definitive - there are millions of species after all - and there's debate over the farting abilities of some animals.

"My friend's parakeet farted in my face when I was nine years old," insists one contributor, contradicting the academic view birds don't pass wind.

Here are some interesting facts you might not know, or want to know, about animal flatulence, taken from the #DoesItFart spreadsheet.

  • Boston terriers are "known to scare [them]selves with their farts".
  • Freshwater mussels "enjoy expelling pseudofaeces".
  • It's assumed spiders can fart, but no one's ever proven it.
  • Farting is what zebras "do best".
  • Copperhead snakes make a "small squeak" when they let rip, and the smell is "dry and feral".
  • Cat farts "worsen in the vicinity of a human face".
  • Orang-utans "have no shame" about passing wind.
  • Sea anemones don't fart, but have "awful" burps.
  • Snow leopards have "floofy bottoms" which "help muffle the sound".
  • Giraffes fart "at face height of the average man".
  • Unicorns fart "glitter and rainbows".