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Did you know that

  1. Jun 29, 2008 #1
    I am starting this thread because I have learned that many people know strange random facts. So if you know a random biology related fact, post it here.

    I'll start:

    Did you know that turtles can actually breathe through their butts? They can use this when they are head first in water so that oxygen can get into their blood. When they are, for instance, searching in small deposits of water looking for food, it would be very inconvenient to have to come up every few minutes to take in water since they move so slowly anyways. Because of this, some species of water turtles have actually adapted to breathe through their butts.

    A prime example is the Fitzroy River turtle (Rheodytes leukops) which can obtain as much as two-thirds of its oxygen supply through this route.
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  3. Jun 29, 2008 #2


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  4. Jun 30, 2008 #3
    I realize, Moonbear, that it is not a common trait for all turtles. The fact is that it is limited to only water turtles. Even then, most water-based turtles can take in some amount of air through this means, though for most turtles this is not a significant amount of air at all. Only a few types, like the rare Fitzroy River turtle, can take in enough air through these means to live for a long enough time to matter.

    Though this is all true, the fact is that some types of turtles can breathe through their butts. This may take quite a few people by surprise and that is why I posted it. That is what I meant by started this thread. I want to learn strange facts that I didn't know before, that is all.
  5. Jun 30, 2008 #4


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    It was not made clear in the first post that this wasn't generalized to all turtles. Little tidbits of information can be fun, we just put accuracy high on our priorities on this forum, so details like that should be specified. This isn't just a notice for you, but for anyone who posts in this thread.
  6. Jul 1, 2008 #5


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    Interesting trivia Lanka, thanks for sharing..

    Just to give you a head's up.. on all the science threads, one of our guidelines is to be factual. I am guessing your referral to a turtle's butt was in jest? For those who are not aware, the term butt (short for buttocks) is present only in mammals, notably primates. In humans, this refers to the rounded hindquarters, made up of gluteal muscles and fatty tissue. A turtle's excretory and reproductive opening is called a cloaca. Now you've taught me that some turtles respire via their cloaca as well.

    I remember this term cloaca from high school, where I raised red-eared sliders and experimented with light exposure as it relates to Vitamin D synthesis, calcium uptake and proper hardening of their shell (carapace & plastron).
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