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Tennessee’s Dancing Tortoise Is Here!

A video on Facebook of Turnip the tortoise dancing in the water has brightened people’s day. Posted by The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Turnip ‘dances’ when it rains heavily in its native habitat. Turnip is a 12-year-old female radiated tortoise(don’t worry, they’re not full of radiation; the name refers to the yellow lines on its shell) is known to shake it off really well:  

"All of our radiated tortoises do this to some degree, but Turnip really 'turns it up,'" said Tennessee Aquarium Animal Care Specialist Maggie Sipe to IFLScience. "Our older female doesn't dance so much as she just raises up on to her tiptoes and stretches out. The two boys in the habitat with her chase me around when I have the hose out because I think they've learned what it means, so it's hard to get videos of them doing the dance because they come right up to me for showers."
Sipe added that the reason for the dancing behavior is unknown. "They do have feeling in their shells and will often seek out sensations, like raindrops or low hanging branches. Here at the aquarium we sometimes give them scrub brushes to rub against and they do this behavior, but not quite as enthusiastically as they do with the showers. This is what makes us believe that they do really enjoy it, because they actively seek it out."


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