flipfact, flipfacts, flipscience, turtles

FlipFact of the Day: Here’s an ability we’ve never seen from Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, or Raphael. Turtles can actually take in oxygen through their butts! (And they don’t have to be ninjas to do it, to boot!)

When turtles hibernate, they “breathe” (or to be more specific, take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide) through a process called cloacal respiration. Because their oxygen needs are minimal, they don’t need to rely on their lungs during this period. They can live on stored energy and simply take oxygen from the water that runs across their most vascularized body surfaces (meaning, the ones flush with blood vessels).

It so happens that on turtles, the butt area is particularly vascularized, so…. 🐢

Today’s Science History Milestone: On August 3, 1958, the USS Nautilus (SSN571), the U.S. Navy’s first atomic-powered submarine, became the first submarine to travel under the geographic North Pole.

Still remember your 5th-grade science classes? Test your knowledge and see if you still remember these facts and fundamental concepts in human anatomy, biology, botany, and other branches of science. Click here to try the “Are You Smarter Than A Pinoy Fifth-Grader” Challenge.

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Cover: Belle Co


  • blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2017/11/22/turtles-hibernation-butt-breathing/

Author: Mikael Angelo Francisco

Bitten by the science writing bug, Mikael has years of writing and editorial experience under his belt. As the editor-in-chief of FlipScience, Mikael has sworn to help make science more fun and interesting for geeky readers and casual audiences alike.