A Turtle Can Breathe through Its Cloaca

It's true! Cartoonist Zach Weinersmith points out that some species of turtle can breathe through their cloacas. They can absorb oxygen in air through their lungs and oxygen in water through their cloacas. Physiologist Donald C. Jackson explains:

Whether the turtle breathes air or water depends on which avenue is open. For lung ventilation, the turtle, with its head out of the water, opens its glottis and air passes in and out its lungs; for cloacal irrigation while submerged, the turtle opens its anal spincter and water passes in and out of its cloaca.

We humans can't do this. Sometimes I think we drew the short straw in evolution.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

P.S. Superhero idea: a teenager is bitten by a radioactive turtle. He develops this ability, among other turtle-based superpowers.

Newest 2
Newest 2 Comments

I always wanted to see the story of a super sloth...he can lift up a two ton truck with no trouble and travel at the speed of sound...but he tends to just sleep all day instead.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Commenting is closed.

Email This Post to a Friend
"A Turtle Can Breathe through Its Cloaca"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More