Can Turtles Breathe Out Their Butts


Can Turtles Breathe Out Their Butts?

Do you ever have one of those moments of curiosity — where you hear or read something that seems outrageous, and then wonder if it really could be true?

Turtles have an uncanny ability to hold their breath underwater for long periods of time, but does that also mean they can breathe out their butts? Well, the truth is more complex than a simple yes or no answer.

Breathing Through Their Butts?

The scientific term for breathing out one’s rear is called cloacal respiration. It is generally known to be done by water-living reptiles such as crocodiles, but there are also some species of terrestrial turtles that use this technique.

The Benefits Of Cloacal Respiration

Cloacal respiration allows animals to absorb oxygen from the water or air surrounding them through thin-walled channels in their cloacal walls.

This can be helpful when a turtle or other creature is submerged underwater and there is little or no oxygen available. By allowing the turtle to absorb oxygen through the cloaca, it can remain underwater for long periods of time.

Are All Turtles Capable Of Cloacal Respiration?

Unfortunately, not all turtles are capable of cloacal respiration. Only certain species, such as the map turtle, ornate box turtle, and African sideneck turtle, are known to possess this ability.

These species are typically aquatic or semi-aquatic, meaning they spend some of their time underwater and some of their time on land.


So to answer the question – can turtles breathe out their butts? The answer is yes, but only certain species. The majority of turtles breathe with their lungs and must come to the surface to breathe air.

Nevertheless, the ability to breathe through their cloacae can be a great advantage to those aquatic or semi-aquatic species.

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