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Where Do Turtles Breathe From?

Turtles have the ability to breathe out of their front sides as well as their back sides — yep, turtles can breathe through their bums. Their respiratory muscles expand, drawing in air from the front and back sides of their shells. When their heads are submerged, most turtles have the ability to draw air in through a bursae sac in their hind end, removing the need for the turtle to come up for air.

More Turtle Facts:

  • Turtles are the oldest living land vertebrates; their ancestors date back about 200 million years.

  • The incredible respiratory system in the turtle allows it to go without oxygen for as many as 33 hours.

  • Not all turtles can pull their head all the way back inside their shells. The more populous specie called the cryptodire, folds its neck into an S-shape and can squeeze it all the way inside, but the pleurodires specie can only bend it in half, which leaves part of its neck exposed when retracted.

  • Some other creatures that enjoy the ability to breathe through their hind quarters include the sea cucumber and the dragonfly nymph.

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