Kangaroos are no less flatulent than other herbivores, but still behind cows

Most of us always knew that cows and horses are stinky creatures, but never had any such notion for kangaroos. However, the fact is that kangaroos also have pretty potent farts; at least a new report published in the Journal of Experimental Biology is suggesting so.

According to the said study, these marsupials emit hefty amounts of methane into the air. This revelation by the study negates a previous theory that suggested that kangaroos play host to unique microbes, which are creatures known for their ability to reduce methane production.

University of Zurich researcher Marcus Clauss, a coauthor of the study, said that kangaroos can no more be tagged as “mysteriously low methane-producing creatures”; according to him, these animals should be regarded as herbivores carrying active methane-producing microbes.

Clauss and his colleagues are focusing on this issue as methane is a greenhouse gas known for contributing significantly to climate change. During this new study, researchers came to know that the quantity of methane present in food consumed by a kangaroo can vary over only a few days.

University of Wollongong’s Adam Munn, another coauthor of the study, said that when kangaroos eat less i.e. when the consumed food remains in the animals’ foregut for a longer period of time, bacteria get more time for digesting the food. This eventually leads to production of more methane for every food intake.

At present, scientists are considering a range of options for solving the problem. They are thinking of doing things like making dietary changes, breeding animals that don’t keep their food in the foreguts for such long periods etc. for addressing the problem.

During this study, some of Clauss’ colleagues were assigned to perform the job of measuring every single thing taken in and released by the kangaroos. This step was essential for determining the exact amount of methane those marsupials were producing in form of farts; the step also allowed researchers to find out how efficient digestive system of those animals was at controlling such gas.


The kangaroos taking part in the study were fed alfalfa, but at two different levels. While the first group was offered a restricted diet, kangaroos belonging to the second group were allowed to consume as much alfalfa as they could eat. The researchers measured the amount of methane produced by the animals as well as their metabolic rates. The feces of the animals were also collected.

In another step of the study, scientists analyzed the nutritional content of the food consumed by the kangaroos and their poop for finding out how much food the animals managed to digest against the quantity of methane produced by them. The study revealed that a kangaroo is capable of producing as much methane in a year as a horse.

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