Have you ever thought how wonderful it would be if we can switch on or off and control our body’s functioning? Nature’s creation is just fantastic living creatures all require oxygen to survive; it is the quantity that differs.
Holding breath is considered therapeutic, andas per the science of yoga, one should master the art of breath control, which is key to good health. Does this theory apply to all living things in the world? How different is the functioning of the human body from that of other species?
Well, we are not sure of other species, but here today, let’s go through a few facts and science behind the existence of the world’s most intriguing species, TURTLES.
Considered to be from a reptile family, turtles are the most endangered species in the world. They trace their origin from the Middle Jurassic time and exist before the evidence of snakes’ presence was acknowledged by the world of science.
Turtles are very adaptive in their habitat; you can find turtles mostly in Southeastern North America and South Asia. These beautiful reptiles are known for their cold-blooded body and come under the category of amniotes reptiles.
In general, turtles as species are famous for their life span and their unique ability to hibernate. Many researchers find turtles’ ability to survive the timeline and survival underwater and land quite an exciting trait.
What helps Turtles to survive in the water as well as on the land?
As stated earlier, turtles are very adaptive, and they have excellent control over their body. Although turtles lost the race with the hare, the species won it when it comes to the fittest’s survival.
True to its saying, “the cold-blooded turtle,” this exciting creature possesses the survival instinct and can control its body functioning when it comes to oxygen. Blame it on their slow metabolism functioning or the shell’s thickness; turtles can amaze you by remaining underwater during the hibernation period.
How exactly do turtles breathe?
If you thought turtles breathe with the help of their nose, then you got it wrong. Turtles do have a nose, but it is used to locate the prey and the food. The nose functioning limits to just that; unlike human turtles’ nose doesn’t help them breathe in oxygen.
Like any reptiles or amphibians, turtles breathe through their butt; scientifically, it is known as cloacal respiration. During this process, the turtle’s body temperature is adjusted to the temperature surrounding them. They draw the oxygen that is around them with the help of a well-vascularized butt. Surprised right!!! Let’s look at this in detail.
Turtles are like ectotherm animals who rely on nature or the environment for their survival. They adjust their body temperature as per the surroundings. If the turtle is underwater and the temperature is close to 15 degrees, the turtles alter its body temperature and bring it to 15 degrees.
By doing this, the turtles slow down their metabolism and prepare its body to go through the coldness surrounding them. During this process, they require very less oxygen for their survival and fewer energy levels as they don’t move around much. They have to draw the minimal oxygen from the water bodies on the surface by slowly moving its body.
The key to their breathing underwater lies in maintaining their body temperature and the slow process of metabolism. This acts as the basic theory behind its survival underwater during the hibernation period.
Different body functioning of turtle and human bodies?
Turtles and human body functioning are quite different. Imagine if human beings are thrown in cold water, would we survive the cold. No, the theory behind this is, human beings require continuous heat generation in our bodies for their survival. Compared with the turtle’s human metabolism function is fast, and it requires enough food and oxygen to stay alive. Change of temperature in a human body is a symptom of illness. That is why humans cover themselves with layers of clothing the moment they are in a colder region, to keep up the body’s warmth.
Do all turtles function similarly?
In general, all turtles function in a similar pattern, but it is good to note that, at times, turtles can’t handle cold. To an extent, turtles control their body temperature and get accustomed to the external weather. But they can’t tolerate too cold water, ice-covered waters, or in Antarctic regions.
Coldwater is a killer for turtles, especially adult turtles. They can’t keep themselves alive in ice cubed water as the temperature is too cold and not constant. If the temperature is not stable, turtles have to use more energy to change their body temperature to match the water heater, which is more energy-consuming. This can lead to their death; that’s why most turtles prefer ponds for hibernation, where the water at the surface is not very cold, and the temperature remains standard.
How long can turtles breathe in water?
There is no clear answer to this as it depends on breed to breed and the surrounding around the turtle. In general, turtles can go without breathing for close to 45 minutes, and there are a few turtles that can go without coming out of the water for close to 4-7 hours.
But as stated earlier, the number differs according to the environment surrounding the turtle. It would be interesting to know that once the turtles are inside the water and their body temperature is adjusted, the turtle’s heartbeat would be one beat between every nine minutes. Guess you can do the math!!
How deep in water do turtles go to hibernate?
Turtles normally look for ponds during the hibernation period. They can go as deep as 18 inches deep and go deeper till they locate an excellent water bed consisting of dirt where they can dig in and hibernate.
Does hibernation affect the lifespan of a turtle?
Yes, hibernation in any animal would positively affect in increasing the lifespan. Here, turtles do die during hibernation when they cannot accommodate themselves to the temperature surrounding them.
So, yeah, at times, hibernation can be a life taker, as well as a life enhancer.
Turtles may seem like fascinating reptiles to both kids and elders. But do you know that this species famous for its lifespan and adoptive nature is the most endangered in the world? Although their origin traces from middle Jurassic times, right now, we have only 7 breeds of turtle’s existence globally.
As a turtle lover, let’s do our bit. Save these wonderful species and work towards it.