Life's a Gas

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Author: Katie L. Burke
Date: May-June 2018
From: American Scientist(Vol. 106, Issue 3)
Publisher: Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
Document Type: Book review
Length: 934 words
Lexile Measure: 1160L

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DOES IT FART? The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence. Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti. Illustrated by Ethan Kocak. 144 pp. Hachette, 2018. $15.

"Do snakes!" my three-year-old nephew piped up. I scanned the book's contents and flipped to page 65 to read about the eastern hognose snake.

"Does it fart?" I read aloud. "Probably." The gaggle of kids sitting around the kitchen table squealed with laughter. I went on to share more details from the page in front of me, telling them that, like all snakes, this one probably farts and that it also has a defensive musk, which, although not technically a fart, is still stinky. Turning the page, I then told them about Sonoran coral snakes, which have an even more intriguing defense: They make a farting sound by sucking air into their cloaca (the opening through which they defecate and urinate). By contrast, the farts of pythons, we learned, while smelly, are "inaudible."

Although adult readers are the target audience for Does It Fart? The Definitive Guide to Animal Flatulence, by biologists Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti, I found kids of all ages to be keen on the subject matter. I had initially intrigued my nieces and nephew with the titular yes-or-no question by reading aloud nonchalantly about sharks (yes), goldfish (no), birds (no), and dinosaurs (not any more). Soon, I was swamped with requests about other animals from...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A537718673