Can a worm fart? We tend to say that all animals fart when that isn’t necessarily the case. We can generally say that most of the animal kingdom has flatulence. Snakes fart, some bugs fart, cats fart, dogs fart, the bat farts, the whale farts (so do many other sea creatures), etc.
In fact, it is even believed that particles of dinosaur farts can still be found in the air that we breathe today. There are, however, some animals that scientists have found do not fart, including certain birds such as the parrot. So, what about worms?
Earthworms do not fart, but yes, they do pass trapped gas. However, the way they pass gas is not via the method we sometimes comically refer to as farting. It is a part of the worms’ particular physiology, which enables them to release unwanted carbon dioxide.
Below, we’ll take a look at how the body of an earthworm works.
Do worms pass gas?
The way earthworms pass gas is fascinating. First, we need to continue considering what is happening inside the worm’s body.
Earthworms do not have the same digestive tract as ones that generate methane gas. Inside their body, a worm’s blood vessels line the intestine walls.
These are supported by five hearts. Each heart of the worm effuses blood via an aortic arch.
Nutrients are both absorbed and distributed along this route. It is known that microbes attach themselves to material expelled by worms.
To assist in all the bodily functions of the earthworm, they must breathe. They do this through their skin. They breathe air in, use the oxygen and expel the carbon dioxide.
So whilst the expulsion of this gas is not by a sudden jet-like fart, it is a regular and vital release of digestive gas from their digestive system.
Formed along their long digestive tract, their principal bodily function is to convert food into energy. What the worms do not need, we apply to our land.
Earthworm castings are rich in the nutrients for our flowers, plants, shrubs, vegetables and fruits.
Their simple, practical shape helps them perform as an eating machine.
They engulf their foodstuffs and process it along the digestive tract. A storage point along the way is called the ‘crop’.
A little further along the transit path is the ‘gizzard’.
Here, small pieces of grit grind up the food in readiness for advancing the digestion process.
Does an Earthworm fart?
Whilst the word fart is not a scientific term, most of us know what it means. Farts smell. They come out of our rear ends, having passed through our stomach and intestines, etc.
Much like a burp, certain foods seem to make us pass more gas than others, but it remains a necessary part of staying in good health.
The term ‘passing gas’ is usually used as an alternative to what some people call a fart. From what we now know, it’s easy to understand that worms do indeed pass gas.
This is an essential bodily function connected to how worms breathe. It is not directly connected to processing food, nor is it a by-product of the digested food material.
When we refer to passing gas or farting, it’s usually a result of digestion in other animals, including humans. Processing food material in most digestive systems produces by-products.
That process is essential for life to continue.
Equally, breathing is vital for survival. Breathing also produces by-products. In many other animals, humans included, air breathed in.
This is known as inhaling. Just as with worms, we use the oxygen in our bloodstream and exhale carbon dioxide.
So like it or not, just as the worms we have been considering, we pass gas too – we exhale by mouth, and they exhale through their skin.
Are there any worm species that fart?
Yes – however, while mammals fart, for example, worm farts are pretty much just expulsions of gas along the digestive track, as explored above.
It’s easy to assume that when worms pass gas, they are ‘farting’.
However, this is us humanizing the worms – our small intestine system is much different to their long digestive track, as is the gut bacteria along the way.
Ultimately, you can’t point to a worm and accuse it of being rude – the CO2 they produce has to emit somehow, and if that’s going to appear in the form of gas, then so be it.
No, a worm’s fart probably won’t smell like what you’d expect, however, we probably also wouldn’t suggest sniffing for it!