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What Makes Seagulls Explode? Is It True?

Written by Clinton Atkins / Fact Checked by George Dukes

what makes seagulls explodes

What makes seagulls explode? There are several seagulls exploding videos on the Internet, making many people believe that Alka Seltzer indigestion pill is the main culprit behind the exploding birds.

However, this is not true. There’s no such thing that can make seagulls (or any bird, for that matter) vanish into a ball of feathers. Let’s look at the science, or lack thereof, supporting the seagulls exploding Alka Seltzer videos.

What Makes Seagulls Explode?


Aside from Alka Seltzer, some popular alleged food that makes birds explode are rice and bread coated with baking soda. However, there is no scientific data to back these claims. In fact, ornithologists and bird experts have debunked these beliefs.

  • The myth that seagulls explode from Alka Seltzer came from the belief that these birds cannot pass gas. As a result, any seagull eating Alka Seltzer will invariably explode into pieces from the built-up gas.

While the reasoning sounds convincing, it makes little sense based on the biology of the bird. Avians do not pass gas the way humans do because they simply don’t need to. Should they need to, they could still either fart or burp.

  • In a similar vein, some people believe that baking soda will turn into carbon dioxide gas inside birds’ stomachs. Using the same reasoning that birds can’t pass gas, such people say that the built-up will ultimately kill the birds.And as pointed out, birds (including seagulls) can release excessive stomach gas should the need arise. Therefore, this myth can be easily proven false.
  • Birds eating rice and exploding is another urban legend. It reasons that you should not feed a seagull uncooked rice, which will expand when coming into contact with water in the bird’s stomach and burst the avian open.

However, the truth is that uncooked rice doesn’t swell up that much, and birds’ stomachs aren’t hot enough to trigger such a phenomenon. And even if it did, avian species’ stomachs could expand to accommodate the increase in food volume. Alternatively, seagulls could just regurgitate the excess food.

What Can Seagulls Eat/not Eat?


Seagulls are known to eat and swallow almost everything from rice to bread. But there are better and healthier options you should consider when you want to feed these scavenger birds.

Here is a short list of some snacks you can throw their way:

  • Organic chips
  • Cooked spaghetti (unspiced)
  • Low-salt nuts
  • Unsalted and unshelled sunflower seeds
  • Regular cheerios
  • Some fruits like bananas, watermelons, apples, and pineapples

Avoid giving seagulls sugary food, cereals, and white bread since these are empty carbs that are stripped of nutrients.

What happens if you give seagulls laxatives?


Laxatives are meant to be taken to help you empty your bowels. Seagulls poop a lot. If these birds ingest laxatives, you can expect them to poop a lot more than usual in a short amount of time and distance.

While it won’t make a seagull blow up, it can get them dehydrated or ill. The worst-case scenario is a dead seagull.

Do seagulls like mustard?


If you give a seagull mustard, it will probably eat it, especially when it’s spread between sandwiches or topped on any food. They are not picky scavengers.

Do seagulls eat other birds?


Yes. Seagulls feed on birds’ eggs and nestlings. Some common victims include sparrow chicks, pigeons, and smaller birds.

In the past years, seagulls are also observed to be turning more into cannibalism as food sources declined. If they’re willing to eat their own kind, it is no surprise that they will eat other birds to satiate their hunger.


Now that you know how to properly answer the question, “What makes seagulls explode?”, it is easy to debunk the myth about Alka Seltzer and seagulls.

We hope that this seagull urban mythbusters article spreads far and wide so more people know the truth about exploding seagulls.

If you’re watching seagulls exploding on video, try to observe closely and see what tricks the uploader used. We can guarantee that seagulls don’t explode from eating Alka Seltzer, uncooked rice, or food coated with baking soda.

5/5 - (2 votes)

Clinton Atkins


Hi, I'm Clinton. Rocky and I became friends after a birdwatching trip with our new group. And we have been enjoying every adventure together. When he told me the idea of establishing a site that shares our experiences and fun, I immediately agreed. After trials and errors, here we have Thayerbirding.

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