One of the most common questions about animals is whether they fart or not. But what about reptiles. More specifically what about lizards? Can they fart, and do they suffer from flatulence? Interested in the topic, I decided to conduct some research. I would like to present that information here to you today.
So, do lizards fart? Yes, lizards fart, albeit not as frequently as many mammals. Lizards have bacteria in their intestines that produce gas. Farting is the bodily process that enables them to release this gas. Farting usually occurs when a lizard is about to expel waste. Their farts can be quite loud and smelly.
In many animals, the body produces intestinal gas as part of the digestion processes. This gas must come out in some fashion. Either it comes out of the mouth as a burp, or through the anus as a fart.
But how does this all happen in lizards. Read on as we delve deeper into the topic; exploring the causes and some of the factors involved that prevent it from becoming a regular occurrence.
Can Lizards Fart?
Yes, lizards can and do fart. However, a healthy reptile will not produce much gas in their gastrointestinal tract. As such, farting is not common nor should you expect it regularly from your lizard.
Like many animals, lizards fart to release trapped air and gas within their bodies. It comes from two main sources:
- To release air that is swallowed when they eat. Nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and oxygen are the primary external gases found in the body and collectively make exogenous air.
- To release gas that is created through digestion. Intestinal gas is produced in the lizard’s body when their colon breaks down their food; this is endogenous gas. Endogenous gas comprises mostly of oxygen, methane, and other gases, which gives farts their recognizable smell.
There are several videos on social media of farting lizards for any skeptics reading this and are yet to believe it is truly possible.
One thing to remember is that if you have a pet lizard, you are unlikely to hear them farting. This is primarily due to their size and the amount of air/gas that they will be releasing. Its very small in comparison to us humans and other larger animals.
Even snakes fart to ward off potential predators- this is known as “cloacal popping“. In fact the only animals that don’t fart are octopuses, and other sea creatures like anemones, soft-shell clams. Birds also do not fart along with sloths (whom might be the only mammal that doesn’t fart).
Factors That Cause Farting In Lizards
Many people want to know whether certain animals pass gas; to answer such questions, we must understand what exactly is the cause of farts in the fist place.
As stated above, a healthy reptile will not fart that often in the way that warm-blooded animals fart. it is usually done before or during defecation.
Diet plays a crucial role in producing flatulence as well as the bacteria in their gut. When it comes to food, lizards fall into three distinct groups:
Most lizards are carnivores. A typical diet for lizards includes spiders, ants, termites, cicadas, small mammals, and occasionally, other lizards. Ciman lizards eat animals like snails with their shells.
These lizards eat plants and meat. An example of an omnivore is the Clark spiny lizard. This lizard likes a varied diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and leaves.
#3 – Herbivores
Only a small fraction of lizards eat just plants. The marine iguana is an example of a strict herbivore – they eat algae from the sea, and they live on the Galapagos islands. Spiny-tailed agamids and iguanas are also herbivores.
As you can see, apart from the few herbivores in the group, lizards don’t eat foods that cause much bacteria, or the production of gases like methane.
With that said, even the strictest of carnivores will consume prey that themselves consume and feeds on leaves and vegetation. So, lizards inadvertently ingest such material.
One of the most common causes of gas production and build-up is through the digestion of starches and fibers present in plant foods and matter. Thus, the more these foods are consumed the higher the liklihood of gas and farting.
For this reason, lizards that are herbivores are more likely and will more commonly fart than Carnivores. Omnivores are somewhere in between.
Specific plant foods, will naturally require more digestive robustness to break down.
Factors That Prevent Farting
Lizards may not pass gas that often due to the fact that most species consume a carnivorous diet. With this said, if gas is produced, it’s good for these reptiles to do so.
Trapped wind can be very uncomfortable for any animal. Constipation can cause trapped wind and lead to abdominal pain and even bloating as gases build up in the intestine.
Intestinal impaction is one of the leading causes of constipation in pet lizards, and it is a scary thing when it occurs, as it can often be fatal.
There is a lot of misunderstanding among pet owners as to what causes this issue, but if impaction can be understood, then it is possible to reverse it.
Let’s look at the foremost reasons for impaction:
Dehydration is the leading cause of constipation and impaction for reptiles. You must ensure that you are providing your pet lizard with sufficient water.
In the wild, omnivorous species, get most of their hydration from the morning dew on fruits and plants.
In captivity, you must provide your pet with a shallow container of water, you can also mist them with a water spray, and they can lick the little droplets of water from their body.
Spray your lizard with water a few times a day.
#2 – Incorrect Diet
This will of course depend on the species of lizard; as their diet requirements will vary. You need to research into your lizard and speak to a veterinarian to understand the needs of your specific pet.
Feeding an incorrect diet is often the case with omnivorous species like the bearded dragon. An adult bearded dragon needs a diet consisting of about 50% vegetables and fruit. Many owners of this species fail to realize that their food has to adapt as the lizard ages.
Young bearded dragons eat mostly insects, but it requires plants for fiber as it ages.
Omnivores are not designed to consume a primarily insectivorous diet, it may be high in protein (essential for omnivores), yet it lacks fiber. You must ensure that your lizard, if an omnivore, is getting enough fiber in his diet.
Strict insectivores like the gecko, require food that is proportional to their size, and they must get lots of variety. Silkworms are an excellent staple for such reptiles; they are easy to digest and highly nutritious. Avoid giving an insectivore too many mealworms as they are high in chitin, which causes impaction.
Ultimately, you need to ensure you are providing your pet with a well-balanced and nutrient dense diet. That is of course, specifically suitable to their own digestive system.
#3 – Parasites
If you suspect that your pet has parasites, you must get them to a vet to confirm whether they are causing constipation or impaction in your lizard.
Roundworm and tapeworm infections can lead to intestinal blockages; this is often evident in the lizard’s feces.
#4 – Poor Quality Substrate
Sand, gravel, and pellets are not the best materials to use as substrate as they can be easily swallowed by your lizard and cause a blockage in the digestive tract of your lizard.
A better alternative to these materials is Astroturf or similar carpet-like materials. Astroturf is a solid artificial grass and doesn’t have loose pieces that can be ingested by your lizard. This is an excellent brand of Astroturf with hundreds of positive reviews, available in a variety of sizes, on Amazon.
Lizards certainly fart. As the saying goes, “if you eat you excrete,” this includes flatulence. Lizards are not immune from this natural process either.
A lizard that is in good health and receiving the appropriate diet shouldn’t fart excessively, but you must ensure that your pet isn’t suffering from constipation or intestinal impaction.
Excessive gas and air buildup can be fatal, so you need to monitor your lizard and if you do have any concerns, contacting your vet should always be the first port of call.
Providing your lizard with enough water, the correct diet, and the right substrate will keep constipation and impaction at bay.
Other than this, the odd farting from your lizard is perfectly normal. In fact, its probably a good thing. The truth is, you are unlikely to hear or even smell it.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.