REVIEW: Does It Fart? by Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti
Dogs do it. Millipedes do it. Dinosaurs did it. You do it. I do it. Octopuses don’t (and nor do octopi). Spiders might do it: more research is needed. Birds don’t do it, but they could if they wanted to. Herrings do it to communicate with each other.
In 2017 zoologist Dani Rabaiotti’s teenage brother asked her a most teenaged question: Do snakes fart? Stumped, Rabaiotti turned to Twitter. The internet did not disappoint. Her innocent question spawned the hashtag #doesitfart and it spread like a noxious gas. Dozens of noted experts began weighing in on which animals do and don’t fart, and if they do, how much, how often, what it’s made of, what it smells like, and why.
Clearly, the public demands more information on animal farts. Does it Fart? fills that void: a fully authoritative, fully illustrated guide to animal flatulence, covering the habits of 80 animals in more detail than you ever knew you needed.
What do hyena farts smell especially bad? What is a fossa, and does it fart? Why do clams vomit but not fart? And what is a fart, really? Pairing hilarious illustrations with surprisingly detailed scientific explanations, Does it Fart? will allow you to shift the blame onto all kinds of unlikely animals for years to come.
Okay I know I’m not the only one who read this book title and thought, “I’ve got to read that.” Maybe I’m one of only a few but given the twitter response, there are a lot of people interested in the subject. Is it about flatulence? You bet. But it’s science! so that makes it an okay topic of conversation and wow, will readers have some eye brow raising tidbits to drop at their next dinner party or use to liven up a boring committee meeting. And remember what Benjamin Franklin said.
Some animals use their farts as a means of staying safe from predators such as herring who use them to stay close to each other. Female baboons use them to signal a readiness to mate – yeah, that’s not going to be found in most romance novels except maybe shifter books. Most monkeys and apes are quite nonchalant about the farting they do.
Dogs get blamed a lot but felines fart too – though they could care less what you think of it. If you’re looking to lower the level of farting among household pets, don’t buy an iguana, snake, ferret or rabbit. And if your rabbit isn’t farting, get it to a vet quickly as that can signal major problems. Manatees too but I doubt many people keep them as pets. Reading about spiders is just gross.
It might be hard to hear bats fart over their squeaks but yes, they do fart. Parrots don’t – or for that matter any birds – but they can imitate the sounds they hear from humans. Would Unicorns fart? Probably since they’d be related to horses and zebras which are frequent farters but the jury is still out on whether or not these would be rainbow colored or glittery. Elephants and rhinoceroses can achieve their size in part due to their digestive physiology and since they utilize “hind-gut fermentation,” yes, they fart – a lot.
Some animals, such as snow leopards, we just don’t know for sure – though scientist would guess yes – just because it’s hard to find and study them in the wild. Others like lacewings have killer farts – literally they can kill termites with them. Beware making a soft shelled crab feel threatened as you’ll get a dose of “clam puke” which gets shot out of its exit siphon. Given the number of cows on the planet and amount of methane they produce, figuring out ways of lowering the levels is a rapidly growing scientific field. And dinosaurs? Well, the feathered ones probably didn’t while the sauropods probably did but we do know for sure they don’t anymore!
This is a fascinating and interesting – and it’s not all about flatulence – little book. B