A London-based zoologist named Daniella Rabaiotti is behind a new hashtag aimed at collecting information from other animal experts around the world. It's all being done to answer a most pressing question indeed: which animals fart? The hashtag (#DoesItFart) has become a minor Twitter hit and even spawned a convenient webpage to help you sniff out fact from fiction. How did this marvellous movement get its momentum?
After being asked by a relative, "Do snakes fart?", Daniella reached out to a reptile expert, Dr. David Steen from Auburn University in Alabama. His response?
<sigh> yes. https://t.co/Y2L00dcDZV
— David Steen, Ph.D. (@AlongsideWild) January 8, 2017
After hearing this, Daniella realized that she was on to something. #DoesItFart caught fire on Twitter, as other animal scientists butted in with their own two cents on toots. Then, realizing all of this data needed to be recorded somewhere, Nicolas Caruso, a Ph.D. student from the University of Alabama, created a public Google spreadsheet, also called #DoesItFart. All your animal flatulence answers in one place? That's pretty fart. Er, smart.
A few fast fart facts
Because many animals do indeed fart, and when you think about it, it makes complete sense. In the end, flatulence is a body function. It allows for the escape of gases (especially methane in humans) that are a by-product of digestion. If that gas had nowhere to go, it would be bad news for our poor bodies.
As for the information on the spreadsheet, it is all kind of fascinating. (And funny, yes, definitely funny.) For example, herrings, small fish that live in large groups, or schools, use farts to communicate with each other. Birds? They don't fart, even though they have all the necessary body parts (their stomachs simply don't produce the same gases, so nothing needs to be released). Snow leopards fart, but according to the spreadsheet, "their floofy bottoms help to muffle the sound." Giraffes fart at "face height" for an average person (good to know, we'll be staying away!). Termites fart so much, that there are even scientists who claim that they likely contribute a significant enough amount of methane to the atmosphere to affect climate change!
And then there are chimpanzees. Experts claim that these primates fart so loudly, that researchers listen for them when they're trying to find them in the jungle. Is it all a bit silly? Sure. But there's something comforting in knowing that even top scientists aren't above talking about the gas animals pass.