Snakes are quiet creatures. Silent but deadly.
But are they “silent but deadly” in more ways than one?
In other words: do snakes fart?
Logically, it makes sense. They eat food. They digest that food. Gasses must build up, right?
But snakes don’t really have an anus. They have a cloaca. It is their only opening besides the mouth and it serves multiple functions.
It excretes waste. It emits noxious liquid called snake musk to drive away predators.
It houses the male sex organs. The female cloaca receives the male organs during reproduction. It also lays eggs, or births baby snakes, depending on the species.
But does it pass gas, too? Let’s find out.
Table of Contents
Do Snakes Fart?
Yes they do. But not often. Certainly nothing like we fart, or like some other animals do (I’m looking at you, Fido).
Passing gas is actually pretty rare for snakes. This is due to their diet.
Snakes are carnivores, so they don’t experience a regular build-up of gas in their bodies.
If they do happen to fart, it occurs infrequently and usually doesn’t produce much of a sound or smell (although some snake owners on internet forums will disagree, as they discuss how loud and smelly their snake’s farts are!).
Have you ever added more plant-based foods to your diet in an attempt to be healthier, only to discover that it made you pass more gas?
Then you know that plant-based foods can be harder to break down in the digestive system.
This is because of their fiber content. Fiber isn’t digested and absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract, which leads to gas building up and then needing to be expelled.
Since snakes don’t eat fiber, they don’t usually experience a build-up of gas that leads to farting. They actually don’t even have the gut microbes to be able to break down fiber!
So if healthy snakes don’t generally fart, does that mean a farting snake is probably sick?
Is Snake Farting A Sign Of Illness?
Farting could indicate an illness, since healthy snakes don’t really produce much gas
If you find that your pet snake is releasing a lot of gas, it could point to a problem with its intestines, like a viral, fungal, or bacterial issue.
Other times, there could be a lifestyle-related reason for your snake farting a lot. An example is bad digestion as a result of it entering brumation too soon after eating a large meal.
What Does A Snake Fart Look Like? (Video Time!)
While it doesn’t have much of an odor or make a sound, you can actually capture your snake passing air on video. Yes, really. One snake owner in South Carolina did just that, and the result was fascinating.
In a video of the incident, you can see a python farting in its enclosure. Before it passes gas, you can see it take a deep breath and then it expels air, which causes sawdust on its substrate to fly around its enclosure.
How Do Snakes Eliminate Their Waste?
Now that we’ve looked at some important information related to how (and if) snakes pass gas, let’s examine how they expel waste.
Just because a snake doesn’t pass gas all that often, it obviously doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need to eliminate waste from its body.
When a snake eats prey, its body digests the prey and uses the nutrients from that food. The rest that isn’t extracted or used by the body has to be eliminated.
The more regularly a snake eats, the more it will need to eliminate its waste. It does this through its anal opening called a cloaca. This is located at the end of the belly and beginning of its tail.
The Multifunctional Cloaca
And yes, it’s the same opening with which snakes release farts, whether due to trying to repel predators or because of a health problem.
Why do snakes release musk?
This really bad-smelling liquid is a blend of organic compounds that snakes use for a variety of purposes, such as to mark their territory, to defend themselves, or to choose a mate. To find out more about snake musk, read, “Snake Musk – Why Do Snakes Stink?”
How do snakes urinate?
Snakes don’t have bladders. This means that whatever liquids are not used by the body will empty directly into the cloaca so they can be eliminated from the body.
Snake Farts: Conclusion
If you’ve ever wondered why you don’t hear or smell your pet snake’s farts, now you know – it’s probably happening too infrequently to catch your attention. That said, snakes can fart.
And some snakes in the wild even do so to defend themselves from predators. While spraying snake musk might not strictly be called a fart in the way we usually understand it, it is the expulsion of air from their bodies to serve a purpose, such as helping them escape from animals that want to attack or eat them.
You can read more about this topic in our article “Do Snakes Have An Odor?”