The question “Do fish fart?” has been around for a long time. A question that has been around for long. A question that has been asked by many people over the years and one that has evoked a lot of laughter and giggles from many people.
However, it is not just a laughing matter. The question of whether or not fish fart is relevant to understand fish in terms of having them pets.
It’s a question that can be answered in several ways, depending on what you mean when you say “fart.”
So, let’s find out.
What Is Farting?
Farting is the expulsion of gas from the anus. It is a normal part of human life and something that everyone does, even those who claim not to fart.
Flatus is a combination of gases produced by bacteria in the intestine. When these gases are expelled from the body, they exit through the anus as a result of muscle contractions in that area.
The amount of gas expelled depends on several factors including: food type (carbohydrates produce more gas than protein) etc.
Given this definition, the question that arises for consideration whether fish fart like humans do?
The Importance Of Understanding Fish Digestion
Understanding fish digestion is crucial when discussing the possibility of fish farting. Fish have a unique digestive system that is vastly different from mammals and other animals.
The process begins with the mouth, where fish use their teeth to break down food into smaller pieces. Unlike mammals, fish do not have salivary glands in their mouths; hence, the food remains dry during ingestion.
Once food enters the stomach, it mixes with enzymes and acids that help break down proteins and carbohydrates. Fish stomachs are relatively small compared to their body size; hence, they need to eat frequently to sustain themselves.
After digestion in the stomach, food passes through the intestine, where most nutrients get absorbed into the bloodstream.
The final stage of digestion takes place in the rectum, where waste products accumulate before being expelled through an opening called the anus. Fish excrete waste products in a solid or semisolid form known as feces.
It is important to note that unlike mammals that produce methane gas when digesting food, fish do not possess gut bacteria responsible for producing methane gas during digestion. Methane gas produced by gut bacteria in mammals gets released through flatulence or burps.
Fish release gases from their gills during respiration but not from their anus since they lack gut bacteria responsible for producing methane gas. Therefore, it is highly unlikely for fish to fart since there isn’t any build-up of gas in their digestive system.
Understanding fish digestion plays a significant role when discussing whether fish can fart or not. Fish lack gut bacteria responsible for producing methane gas during digestion.
Can Fish Swallow Air?
Can fish swallow air? No. Fish do not breathe like humans, they use gills to breathe using water.
Fish have gills that allow them to absorb dissolved oxygen from water. Fish breathe without having extra equipment like lungs or a respiratory system like humans do. Fish do not take in any air.
Gills are very efficient at extracting oxygen from water. They get their oxygen through the movement of water over their gills, and they release carbon dioxide into the water as waste product.
The reason that fish can survive underwater is because of this process: their bodies contain an organ called a swim bladder which allows them to control their buoyancy so they can stay at the level of the water that contains enough oxygen for them to survive.
Even for this, fish do not take in air.
Because fish don’t breathe like humans, they don’t have lungs or nostrils like we do through which air can go inside. They have gills which work as both nostrils and lungs for them by taking in water and extracting oxygen from it.
Do Fish Suffer From Flatulence?
Fish do indeed suffer from flatulence. While this may seem surprising at first glance, it actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
For example, humans and other mammals have stomachs that are divided into compartments.
This means that when we eat something, it gets broken down in one area before being passed through another area where the nutrients are extracted. In contrast, fish only have one stomach compartment.
Because of this, when they eat food, their digestive gases can’t be separated from their feces until much later in the process than humans or other mammals would experience.
So, though they do experience flatulence, it’s not as if they can fart.
Are There Any Fish That Expel Gas? Do Fish Fart?
Herrings and sharks are the only fish that can swallow air, which they do to control their buoyancy.
Whales and dolphins also do this, but they are mammals and therefore not really considered to be true fish.
Air-swallowing is a useful ability for many reasons: it helps sharks control their depth when hunting for prey or avoiding predators.
It helps herrings stay at the bottom of water columns where food is more plentiful; and it allows these species to make themselves more buoyant in order to move up into shallower waters during breeding season (where there’s more oxygen).
When sharks swallow air, the gas compartments inside their bodies expand, causing them to become less dense than water and sink down into deeper depths.
When they need to come back up again, however, they can expel the excess air from their stomachs so that they no longer weigh as much—and float back up toward the surface.
However, this is an adaptation rather than actual farting since it is a deliberate process used by these fish where they can release the air only when they want to.
Bolson Pop Fish
Bolson pop fish, also known as the Bolson pupfish, is a small fish that lives in the Salton Sea of California. They are known to fart.
In their book ‘Does It Fart?: The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence,’ Dani Rabaiotti and Nick Caruso note that bolson pop fish have “somewhat famous farts” and are known to fart frequently.
They also have the need to fart; they have been observed “farting in unison,” which suggests they may be able to control their flatulence.
The answer, in short, is no. Fish do not fart.
Sharks and herring, however, are a different story. Sharks have been observed to release gas from their rectum, which is thought to be part of their way of survival.
Herring have been observed farting as part of their mating ritual.
So, what about the Bolson pupfish? It’s believed that the Bolson pupfish actually has a unique digestive system that allows it to consume air bubbles and then need to fart.
However, the general answer to whether fish fart or not is no. The rest are exceptions.
1. Jobling M. (2012). Fish Nutrition. John Wiley & Sons.
2. Hardy RW (Ed.). (2002). Aquaculture Nutrition: Gut Health, Probiotics and Prebiotics.
3. Cho CY & Bureau DP (Eds.). (2010). Feed and Feeding Practices in Aquaculture. Woodhead Publishing Limited.