The Living, Breathing Egg

The Breathing Egg (Easy)

Question: Do eggs breathe?

Do eggs really breathe? Here’s your chance to find out! In this egg-speriment, you’ll discover the real truth about whether eggs actually breathe or not.


  • 1 egg
  • small clear jar (clean jelly, olive or pickle jars work) or glass
  • Hot water
  • Magnifying glass
  • Adult helper


1. Put the egg in the jar (without cracking it!) and fill the jar with hot tap water
(as hot as you can get it).
2. Set the jar on a table and watch it for several minutes.
3. If you see anything changing, examine it closely with the magnifying glass.

What Happened – and Why?

Tiny bubbles will start to appear on the egg shell. The bubbles will break free and float upward through the water. That’s because the egg shell has tiny openings (so tiny, they are invisible to the naked eye) called pores. Each egg has about 7,000 pores. Inside the shell there’s a small pocket of air. That air expands as it is heated by the hot water and “escapes” through the pores in the shell into the water as bubbles – making it look like the egg is breathing!

As easily as air can leave an egg, air can also enter an egg through those same pores, bringing different smells with it. Although the air can come out again through the pores, the smells stay inside. That’s why if eggs are not stored in the egg carton you bought them in, they can take on the odours or tastes from other things in the fridge that smell – things like smelly meats, cheeses or onions. So, be sure to always keep eggs in their original egg carton in the fridge!
Source: Adapted from Calgary Herald comics, year unknown.