How to Explain Something That is Hard to Explain

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Reader Comments (33)

As I understand it, fish only excrete solids, which sink.

Your reasoning is otherwise flawless.

September 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCzernobog

Thank you for this train of thought. I really needed it.

September 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

It's not beyond the realm of possibility that you taste a fart either. See: Dorm, College Boys.

September 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Hilarious! One of your best!

September 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterckikilwai

Scott, you have outdone yourself once again.

September 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Most fish excrete soluble ammonia. It's reptiles and birds who excrete solid uric acid. Your logic is sound, and disturbing.

September 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTormodG

Freshwater fish pee constantly, to get rid of the water that they're constantly drinking. Saltwater fish barely pee at all, as they don't drink any of the water because if they did, they'd dehydrate.


September 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHerbert

Made my morning!! U got readers back there in israel :)

September 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterYannay

Yo, Scott, Imma happy for you and all, but panel 2 here is my favorite panel of all time. Of all time.

September 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDB

@Czernobog Fish still have to get rid of ammonia, but they do it via the gills, which I suppose makes it more of a burp.

September 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergrizz

i saw a fish in our pond fart. bubbles came out of its gills. maybe it was burping?

September 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermae

Fish do indeed produce liquid nitrogenous wastes (goldfish are notorious for turning their water into ammonia cesspools). I'm not sure about gaseous wastes, though. Several fishes do gulp air from the surface and absorb the oxygen through their digestive tract (e.g. corydoras catfish). Whether it passes all the way to the end is, unfortunately, unknown to me.

September 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrkr

Don't sharks smell (or taste) blood in the water?

September 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBill


September 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdesteelio

Plus, a fish will never know the joy of lighting their farts on fire. There but for the grace of God go we.

September 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter1415dr

Fish don't pee like we do; they have no bladders, but excrete it continuously through their pores, like sweat. I don't know if they fart at all.

September 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

Re czernobog's comment: Freshwater fish urinate all the time. They need to excrete much of the water they take in in order to maintain the osmotic balance of their cells. Saltwater fish, on the other hand, need to retain water and excrete excess salt.

To go into even more needless detail - yes, fish can smell, which is why they have nostrils. Nostrils originally evolved as sensory organs; it was only after animals made the move onto dry land that they became adapted for use in breathing.

Love the comic, BTW!

September 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Brown

I found the comic hilarious, the comments section educational and entertaining, and the fact that you must have actually thought this through very disturbing.

September 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJason

This is amazing, and you have a sick mind. Well done.

September 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAdam S.

Concerning your analogy in the last panel - of all things to invite into your home, how did you happen choose vampires? More realistic as a dinner guest than a honey badger, I suppose...

September 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjoseph

Scott: You seem to (logically) attract a large number of science minded folks with your comic. This is not really a surprise, as your humor is wonderful, very logical, and quite linguistic. As a biology professor myself, I also appreciate your sci-fi interest as expressed in your comic too. By-the-way, the naysayers about "peeing" fish are incorrect as several have pointed out... all fish will eliminate cellular wastes, and in freshwater species in particular, the amount of "pee" eliminated is quite significant.

September 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPipeTobacco

I am using this next time someone asks me what I'm thinking, I'm plagiarizing this BI to hell and back.

September 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFallingar

Fish excrete nitrogenous wastes through their gills, tail kidneys, and skin (but not through pores...they don't have hair... The only "pores" are the openings to the lateral line canal that lets them detect movement of the water). Some bony fish do have a urinary bladder in the caudal coelom. Cartilaginous fish have a cloaca, like terrestrial non- mammals.

They do have gas-generating bacteria in the intestine, so, like land animals, they definitely pass gas.

September 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTormodG

Whether this applies to fish or not, it definitely applies to sea mammals, so think about that when you're wondering how they keep the water at Marineland so clear.

If you're never wondered how they keep the water at Marineland so clear, you obviously don't overthink things enough.

September 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterResuna

Yet another reason I don't eat fish.

September 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNick in the UK

Wow, some amazing lines. "hearing crazy thoughts probably does less mental damage than thinking them" will go into my "please, oh, please, let me use this some day" list.

September 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDrowlord

When I read this strip, I immediately thought of one of my favourite songs from my favourite band, the Cat Empire, so, thanks for that!

September 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatrik

Is that a Lost Boys reference? (Inviting a vampire into your home makes you powerless against them, etc.)
It's been ~2 decades since I've seen that, so I may be off.

September 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeardo

I think smells are particulate matter so when you smell it you're also tasting it....

September 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCasey

Thanks to everyone who corrected me. It's just the sort of useless factoid I love learning from unexpected sources.

And the shark video was hilarious, even though missy might not approve.

September 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCzernobog


In old folklore, vampires can't cross your threshold without an invitation. It's why vampires have to be charming and seductive; otherwise you wouldn't invite them in. It's also why it's your fault if it drinks your blood -- you were unable to resist temptation, and therefore were a bad christian.

September 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

I'm laughing and I don't even know why.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRicardo
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