Ask Glenn

Do rabbits fart?

Quite simply – yes. In fact, nearly all animals do, as it’s a necessary part of digesting food.

Nearly all animals?

Well, almost. If by ‘fart’ you mean ‘release gas from the gut’, then all animals with guts will, in fact, fart. Insects, fish, lizards, snakes, cats, dogs, mice, elephants . . . almost any creature you can think of. In fact, the only ones that don’t fart are those that didn’t evolve guts – like sponges, jellyfish and some types of worm. Guts are for taking in food and plopping out waste products, and these animals either absorb food through the surface of their bodies, or eat and poo through the same hole.

Rabbit farting

Gross. I think I’d rather have guts.

Absolutely. But then you have no choice but to fart. As food is digested in the gut, gases are made from the chemical reactions inside. So it’s either fart or starve for most animals. Including us.

Really?! You mean you have to fart? That’s brilliant!

Well, again, that depends on what you mean by ‘fart’. If you mean ‘release gas from your bottom’, then, yes – you have to.. It’s happening all the time, whether you like it or not. But if you mean ‘trumpet loudly and award yourself a mark out of ten’, then no – this isn’t strictly necessary.

Curses. So farts are just food gas from our guts, then?

Well, that’s not the whole story. Most animals (including us) also have bacteria living in their guts that release more gases as they, too, break down food. Many animals – particularly plant-eaters like rabbits – couldn’t live without these bacteria in their guts. For land animals, some fart gas also comes from air swallowed with food accidentally. All this gas has to go somewhere, so it gets pushed along with the food to the animal’s bottom . . . and you know the rest. Of course, some animals fart more than others.

OK – which ones? I have to know...

Some animals produce so much fart gas that it spreads around the planet’s atmosphere and plays a role in global warming. Scientists used to think cows were one of the worst for this, but it turns out that it’s probably their burps, rather than their farts, that do it. Termite farts, on the other hand, produce more methane (one of the gases involved in global warming) than all of our cars, planes and factories put together! The termites can’t help this, of course. It’s because they need more of those gut bacteria than most animals in order to digest their woody diet. But it has earned them the number one spot in our Top 10 animals that fart list. The rest are in no particular order, other than how stinky I’ve found them to be.

Top 10 animals that fart

  1. Termites
  2. Camels
  3. Zebras
  4. Sheep
  5. Cows
  6. Elephants
  7. Labradors/Retrievers
  8. Humans (vegetarian)
  9. Humans (others)
  10. Gerbils