Want to know what happens when you strap a Go Pro to a turtle? Yes, we do too! Here we have a unique vid thanks to Tank the Red-Eared Slider Turtle who gives us an insight into his life. Initially, Tank does not look too impressed and when he encounters another turtle, he does get some funny looks! But once Tank hits the water, things really speed up a lot!
Tank’s Adventure in the Pond
So, what happens to Tank in his garden pond? The first thing that strikes you is just how fast Tank seems to be traveling. We see another turtle up ahead but they both manage to change direction fast enough to avoid a collision. The same cannot be said for a large fish that comes from nowhere and nearly takes Tank’s head off. Luckily, land turtles can retract their heads into their shells in a defensive maneuver and this prevents any injuries. Interestingly, sea turtles are not able to do this.
We see the murky depths of the pond with a gravel bottom, rocks, and wispy plants. But the highlight is getting an underwater view as Tank snatches food left for him on the water surface by his owner. This is commercial turtle food but red-eared sliders also eat a wide variety of other foods. They are termed opportunistic omnivores which means that they will have a taste of most things! They need animal protein (especially young turtles) so they eat a variety of in insect larvae, snails and slugs, beetles and spiders as well as aquatic plants. They will also eat carrion.
Turtles Breathing Underwater
Another stand-out feature of this vid is how long Tank can spend underwater without rising to the surface for a breath. Most freshwater turtles can hold their breath for about 30 minutes but they also have another remarkable way of getting oxygen when they are underwater. Turtles can breathe through their butts! Yes, it sounds crazy but it is true.
Turtles have a cloaca at the back of their body which is the multi-functional endpoint for the urinary and digestive tract and the reproductive opening in females. When turtles contract the muscles around their cloaca, water is taken inside the body and moved to a pair of bursae. These are organs that function like lungs in that they can extract oxygen and transfer it to the bloodstream which transports it to the rest of the body.
There is a lot more going on in Tank’s little body than we can see with the Go Pro!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © xbrchx/Shutterstock.com
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