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The Science of Snot


NGSS Standards:



Crosscutting Concepts:

Systems and System Models

Transcript-The Science of Snot
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Why do we have snot? Do animals get stuffy noses, too? We delve into the world of thick secretions with the help of Dani Rabiaotti, zoologist and author of “Believe it or Snot: The Definitive Field Guide to Earth’s Slimy Creatures.” You’ll find out why we make so much mucus, and meet the slimiest animals on the planet. Plus, you’ll discover why scientists study slime, even though it’s super gross.


In the episode, we described the bizarre and slimy behaviors of many organisms. In these videos, you can watch the slime in action!

This hagfish video, shot by scientists in New Zealand, is not to be missed. It gives you a good idea of how effective slime is as a defense.

Wondering about that hagfish truck accident? Here's a truly delightful local news report about it.

What does a snot sleeping bag look like? Here's a video of a parrotfish cuddled up for the night.

Why do giraffes have such thick saliva? This video answers the question.

We didn't mention slime molds in the episode, but they're covered in the book because - DUH. They've got slime in their names! And there's a lot of research on these fascinating slimes. Our friend Joe Hanson explains.


The snot that affect us the most is our own! Want to learn more about why our body makes this gross stuff pour out our nostrils? Watch this video from TED-Ed, which comes with a lesson plan (in description).

There are also researchers who study human mucus. Here's some recent snot science:

Apparently, Dani's not the first to come up with this pun. But this is the first "snot transplant" study! Boogers from one person go into another's nose!

Katharina Ribbeck studies mucus for a living. She's discovered how snot can prevent infections.

How did Katharina Ribbeck become the queen of snot science? Find out how one choses to spend their life studying boogers.


There's tons more snot science and creatures covered in Believe It or Snot. It's not a kid's book, but it IS kid friendly. It's fun for kids and adults to explore together!

Photo of displaying Believe It Or Snot (a book) and a science fact.

And here's Dani herself, with the first book, Does It Fart?

Dani holding her first book, "Does It Fart?"

Want to hear more about snot and slime? Listen to our bonus episode with Dani Rabiaotti, by pledging just $1/month to our Patreon campaign.

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