Painted Turtles

On this cold and snowy day in Colorado, it’s time to talk about turtles. What do they do when it’s this cold (and their pond freezes over)? They are cold-blooded after all. Well, they hibernate. Painted turtles slow their body metabolism down by as much as 95% and spend the winter at the bottom of a pond. Except, wait, don’t they need some oxygen? They do! And that’s where this gets both interesting and funny.

Painted turtles have a cloaca – an all-purpose orifice. Basically, it’s their butt. Turns out that area has special blood-vessels that takes up oxygen directly from the water, so the turtles do not need to breathe air. So the next time you wonder what painted turtles are doing in the winter, know that they are taking a snooze at the bottom of a pond and breathing through their butts.