Science Questions

Thu, 20th Mar 2003

Part of the show Cambridge Science Festival - Life in Lake Vostok

Question

Rowena asked:

What would happen if a bird drank fizzy water ?

Answer

Legend says that giving birds fizzy water can make them explode as gas builds up in their stomachs. But this is probably not correct - birds can burp it up. Bird's guts are somewhat different to humans, containing different chambers, but they do have an oesophagus which allows the bird's food to reach the crop (where a human's stomach would be). As bird's have no teeth they swallow food whole. It travels down to the crop ready for regurgitation to feed their young. It follows that, if they can regurgitate food, they should be able to regurgitate gas too. However it's not really natural for birds or other animals to drink fizzy water so best to stick to still water for your pets!

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