Snakes are extremely popular in the United States, especially the colorful ball python with all their morphs. Snakes have all kinds of strange behaviors that many people didn’t realize before they purchased their pet, and the one that often surprises people the most is when they see their snake farting. Snakes do fart, but it is quite rare, so keep reading while we look at what causes this behavior, as well as if it’s a sign of a medical problem, to help you stay better informed about your pet.
Why Do Snakes Fart?
Snake farting is not common, but does happen sometimes. They do not have an anus and instead use their cloaca to expel waste.
In snakes, the cloaca also emits a musk. At times, snakes will appear to fart at a perceived predator to scare them off with this scent. In such an instance, the fart isn’t related to dietary flatulence (as it is in humans) but rather used to deter a threat. Pet snakes on a healthy diet that do not perceive their handler as a threat only occasionally need to pass gas.
Is Farting a Sign of a Medical Condition?
Since farting is not a common behavior, if you notice your pet farting frequently, it could be a sign of a medical problem. Frequent farting can be a sign of a medical condition, particularly if it has a bad odor. Bacteria and parasites can enter the intestines, especially if you feed your snake wild-caught food that can lead to your snake passing gas. In most cases, it will pass quickly, but if you still see frequent farting after a few days, we recommend taking your pet to the vet to have it looked over by a professional. We also recommend feeding your snake only captive-bred mice and rats to minimize the risk of infection.
Because snakes are cold-blooded, their digestive system relies on their ambient temperature to function optimally. In less than optimal conditions, digestion might be hampered, and therefore, farting might be a more common occurrence. Husbandry is a cornerstone of many exotic pets and something you should discuss with your veterinarian to ensure that your snake is housed in an appropriate environment.
- Related Read: How Do Snakes Poop and Pee? What You Need To Know!
Other Reasons Your Snake Might Be Farting
In reptiles, brumation is an activity similar to hibernation used to survive unfavorable environmental conditions or harsh seasons, such as winter. If the snake enters brumation too soon after eating, the food will remain in their digestive tract while they brumate. Most snake keepers usually keep their snakes active year-round, so it usually isn’t an issue, but it is a common problem for inexperienced breeders who need to allow the snake to brumate before mating.
Finally, the most common reason your snake farts is that it got a piece of debris, often a grain of sand, into their cloaca, and they’re attempting to blow it out. When your snake is trying to clean their cloaca, you will usually notice them open their mouth to draw in air, and their body will swell briefly before they push air out of the cloaca. If your snake is sitting on a loose substrate, like sand, you can usually see a cloud form from the pressure from this form of farting.
If you feed your captive snake only captive-bred rats and mice, your snake will likely only fart when they need to clean out their cloaca, which is not very often but definitely observable if you spend a lot of time observing your snake.
If you fed your pet some wild-caught food and noticed them farting, they likely have a touch of indigestion that should only last a day or so at most. However, if you notice your pet farting for several days, it’s best to take them to the vet to rule out any serious problems.
Featured Image Credit: Deb Davis, Shutterstock