Do Manatees Fart?

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If you get a chance to watch manatees for a few minutes, you’ll notice how effortlessly they rise and sink in water. You’ll also notice an incessant bubbling up on their hindquarters as they sink into the water. Why? Because manatees rely on flatulence to float or sink in water, storing and releasing gas to enable them to rise or drop at will in the water. Even though manatees have neither swim bladders nor hind limbs to help them swim, a combination of dense front-body ribs and flatulence helps them to regulate their buoyancy and stay horizontal in a water column. Farting is so important that if they don’t do it they become constipated and unable to dive properly, spinning with their tails raised above their heads and struggling to achieve balance.

Gas storage pouches

Scientifically termed flatulence, a fart is gas or flatus created during digestion and usually expelled out of the body through the anus. An adult manatee eats up to 100-150 pounds of vegetation every day, resulting in massive build-up of methane gas inside the body. The gas is stored in storage pouches found in the intestines.

How does farting help manatees swim?

For manatees to live and thrive in water, buoyancy is very important. The aquatic mammals depend on digestive gas to enable them to float in water. The gas stored in pouches found in the intestines helps to keep the animals buoyant. Manatees hold on to their gas when they want to float to the water surface, but they release the gas, becoming less buoyant, when they want to sink into the water. The ability to fart is vital for the survival and well-being of these marine mammals.

Control over the gas

Manatees have impressive control over the amount of gas they make, how frequently they make it and when to release or hold on to it. The ability to control when and how frequently they release the gas ensures they are able to sink or rise at will. Though manatees often use their intestines and lungs to propel themselves through water, it is their capacity to control when to hold or pass stored gas that enables them to maintain their balance and buoyancy. Farting also allows them to stay horizontal and glide smoothly through water. And as they release the gas, they also move their paddle-like tails up and down, propelling themselves forward, though at very slow speeds.

Amazing sight to behold

Watching manatees swim is a wonderful experience. They expel gas each time they try to drop into the water, resulting in a lot of bubbling around the animals. The experience is so awesome that even manatees themselves enjoy it, frequently rolling over on their backs as they swim to watch the bubbles or swimming playfully through the bubbles. The farting sound is amazing too — it goes on and on as if it’s all planned. For an observer, the farting and the graceful movement of manatees in water — swirling, chewing, rolling and coming to the water surface to catch a breath — make for an experience worth the time.

At Captain Mike’s, we help people find and watch manatees swimming. Our swim with manatee tours are designed to allow tourists, adventurers or nature lovers to get the most value from their trips. So you’ll definitely be able to see manatees fart and play through the bubbles created by the gas. You’ll also be able to get into the water and swim with manatees. It’s an awesome experience. For more information on manatee tours, visit the “Captain Mike’s Swimming With The Manatees” site.


Swimming with the Manatees boasts the best water adventure in Crystal River, Florida with lots of things to do for you and your family. For more information, contact us online, or call us at (352) 571-1888.

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