Axolotl. Skill: never grow up
Strictly speaking, this creature is not a separate biological species, but the larva of some amphibians, which has never reached the adult stage. It’s common in the amphibian world.
We admit that many representatives of the species Homo sapiens do not want to grow up either: it is much more pleasant to remain an eternal child who is not responsible for anything and to anyone, but can quite enjoy the delights of adult life. But at the same time, a person outwardly matures and ages, but the axolotl does not change its appearance over time, remaining similar to a funny water dragon from a cartoon (by the way, it is called “aquarium dragon”). And at the same time it reaches puberty, becoming capable of reproduction and giving rise to more and more “dragons”.
In an infant state, these extraordinary creatures stay for years (an axolotl can live for ten years), not wanting to turn into an adult amphibian. They resort to such a metamorphosis only as a last resort. For example, when a drought hits or the water temperature changes dramatically.
Crocodile. Skill: run at a gallop
We used to think that crocodiles are lazy and clumsy creatures, lying motionless in the water for most of their lives. And you definitely shouldn’t be afraid of them on land. It was something that surprised scientists who installed video cameras in a zoological park in Florida to observe the alligators and caimans living there. They found that crocodiles can gallop, reaching speeds of 18-20 km / h!
“It’s just incredible! They have a different gait, but this does not prevent them from running equally fast, if necessary. Crocodiles resort to galloping mainly when they are in serious danger. We assume that this is how they gained an important evolutionary advantage, “explained the results of the study, evolutionary biomechanics specialist John Hutchinson.
Reindeer. Skill: change eye color
To change the color of the iris, a person has to buy special contact lenses. But the reindeer have adapted to do it spontaneously, depending on the time of year and day. This fact, perhaps, has long been known to the peoples living in the Arctic, but scientists only learned about it a few years ago.
Researchers from the University of Tromsø in Norway are interested in the vision mechanism of reindeer: how are they able to see equally well in the dark and in bright light? The polar night in the Arctic latitudes lasts for months, the same applies to the polar day. And the sun’s rays reflected from the bright white snow can be dazzling. How to live in such conditions?
Scientists managed to get their hands on it. Deer eyes. They were transferred to the university by representatives of the local indigenous population. the Sami. And it turned out that the eyes of deer that died in winter are painted in bright blue, and in summer. in golden color. Biologists have found that the color change does not occur on the iris, but on the tapetum, a reflective surface behind the central part of the retina. In humans, by the way, this element of the visual apparatus is absent.
According to scientists, this feature helps animals not only to adapt to extreme changes in lighting in the environment, but also to notice moving predators in time.
Turtle. Skill: Breathe Booty
There are many breathing techniques in the world. For example, yogis practice the method of surya bhedana pranayama: they inhale through the right nostril, and exhale through the left nostril. It is believed that this is how they stimulate the mind.
Some of the freshwater turtle species found in the Australian state of Queensland have gone even further. They have adapted to extract oxygen not only from air, but also from water, using “cloacal breathing”.
The blood vessels around the cloaca of these amazing reptiles are able to absorb oxygen directly from the water with the help of special cells concentrated in the so-called cloacal bags. bag-like protrusions. Under water, the opening of the cloaca is wide open, and the muscles work like a pump: they pump water into the bags and remove it. Oxygen enters the body of turtles with water and carbon dioxide is removed.
The original breathing method allows reptiles to stay underwater for a long time: more than 12 hours. There were cases when the Fitzroy turtles (this is the name of the species) did not rise to the surface for more than two days. This skill gives them the opportunity to reduce overall energy consumption, be less vulnerable to predators, and develop relatively fast-flowing rivers.
Forever Young. Unusual Animal Abilities You Didn’t Know About
You will not be surprised by the message that dogs have a phenomenal sense of smell, eagles have keen eyesight, and bats have the ability to hunt using the effect of echolocation. Any schoolchild knows this. Some have even heard of funny basilisk lizards that can run on their hind legs on the surface of the water. But the world of animals is huge and diverse, many of us have no idea about some animal skills.
Aif.Ru fills the gap by talking about the most unusual abilities acquired by representatives of the terrestrial fauna.
Dolphin. Skill: always stay awake
Who among us, falling asleep over lecture notes on the eve of exams, did not dream of learning how to do without sleep at all? After all, it will be possible to do so much! In the animal kingdom, there are those who have successfully pumped such a skill. These are cetaceans. a detachment of marine mammals, which include dolphins, whales and porpoises. True, it makes sense to reliably talk about this skill only in relation to dolphins: it is easiest for scientists to study them.
As it turned out, the two hemispheres of the dolphin’s brain do not sleep at the same time, but in turn. One is asleep, the other is awake, and then they switch roles. The waking hemisphere provides the animal with safety and basic vital functions: body control, ascent to the surface for the next breath, observation of the situation.
To create a creature that would not need rest at all, nature still cannot do it. After all, for her it is like creating a perpetual motion machine for a person.
Respiratory system device
In mammals, including humans, when breathing, the diaphragm increases and air is drawn in by the lungs. movable ribs allow this. In turtles, all internal organs are surrounded by a shell, and the chest area is immobile, so the process of air intake is completely different. The respiratory system of these animals consists of the following organs:
- External nostrils. inhalation is carried out through them;
- Internal nostrils (called choana). located in the sky and adjacent to the laryngeal slit;
- Dilator. a muscle that opens the larynx during inhalation and exhalation;
- Short trachea. consists of cartilaginous rings, conducts air to the bronchi;
- Bronchi. Forks in two, carrying oxygen to the lungs
- Lung tissue. located on the sides, occupying the upper part of the body.
The breathing of the turtle is carried out by two muscle groups located in the abdomen. Reptiles do not have a diaphragm separating the internal organs from the lungs; when inhaling, the muscles simply move the organs away, allowing the spongy lung tissue to fill the entire space. When you exhale, there is a reverse movement and the pressure of the internal organs makes the lungs contract and throw out the exhaust air.
Often the paws and head are also actively connected to the process. by drawing them in, the animal reduces the internal free space and pushes air out of the lungs. The absence of a diaphragm eliminates the formation of back pressure in the chest, so lung damage does not stop the breathing process. This allows turtles to survive when the shell breaks.
Respiratory system in turtles
It is widely believed that red-eared and other turtles breathe underwater like fish. with gills. This is a misconception. all types of turtles belong to reptiles and breathe both on land and in water in the same way. with the help of the lungs. But the special type of respiratory organs of these animals allows more economical consumption of oxygen, so they can retain air and stay under water for a long time.
Anaerobic respiration process
After inhaling, the turtle slowly sinks, the processes of oxygen absorption from the lungs into the blood continue for the next 10-20 minutes. Carbon dioxide accumulates without causing irritation, without requiring immediate exhalation, as in mammals. At the same time, anaerobic respiration is activated, which at the final stage of absorption replaces gas exchange through the lung tissue.
During anaerobic respiration, tissues located at the back of the pharynx are used in the cloaca. the stratification makes these pads look like gills. It takes only a few seconds for the animal to remove the carbon dioxide and then re-take in air upon ascent. Most species breathe out sharply into the water before raising their head above the surface and drawing in air through the nostrils.
Thanks to the complex structure of the respiratory system, turtles not only breathe, but receive data about the world around them through the sense of smell. Smells are the main source of information for these animals. they are necessary for successfully obtaining food, navigating the terrain, and communicating with relatives. Smell receptors are located in the nostrils and in the mouth of the animal, so the turtle actively contracts the muscles of the floor of the mouth to draw in air. Exhalation is carried out through the nostrils, sometimes with a sharp noise. You can often see an animal yawning. this is also part of the process of smell.
Unusual breathing patterns
In addition to normal breathing through the nostrils, most freshwater species are able to obtain oxygen in another way. You can hear that aquatic turtles breathe with their booty. such a unique way really exists, and these animals are called “bimodal breathing”. Special cells located both in the throat of the animal and in the cloaca are able to absorb oxygen directly from the water. Drawing in and ejecting water from the cloaca creates a process that can really be called “booty breathing”. some species make several dozen such movements per minute. This allows reptiles to dive deeply without rising to the surface for up to 10-12 hours.
The most striking representative using a double respiratory system is the Fitzroy turtle, which lives in the river of the same name in Australia. This turtle literally breathes under water, thanks to the special fabrics in the cloaca bags filled with many vessels. This gives her the opportunity not to float to the surface for up to several days. The disadvantage of this breathing method is the high requirements for the purity of the water. the animal will not be able to obtain oxygen from a turbid, contaminated liquid with various impurities.
How many turtles can not breathe
When swimming near the surface of the water, turtles regularly emerge to get air. The number of breaths per minute depends on the type of animal, the age and size of its shell. Most species breathe in every few minutes. marine species rise to the surface every 20 minutes. But all types of turtles can hold their breath for up to several hours.
This is possible due to the large volume of lung tissue. In the red-eared turtle, the lungs occupy 14% of the body. Therefore, in one breath, the animal can gain oxygen for several hours of being under water. If the turtle does not swim, but lies motionless on the bottom, oxygen is consumed even more slowly, it can be enough for almost a day.
Breathing during hibernation
Some species of turtles spend their entire hibernation under water, sometimes in a body of water completely covered with a layer of ice. Breathing during this period is carried out anaerobically through the skin, cloacal bags and special outgrowths in the larynx. All body processes slow down or stop during hibernation, so oxygen is only needed to supply the heart and brain.
Where turtles live?
Turtles are found in all tropical and temperate regions. They inhabit not only land, but also freshwater reservoirs, as well as warm sea and ocean spaces. Turtles do not live only in the icy deserts of the Arctic, Antarctica and the harsh conditions of Greenland. The distribution area of these reptiles also does not include New Zealand and the countries of the Pacific coast of Latin America.
Terrestrial species of turtles live in steppes, deserts, semi-deserts and shrouds in Africa, North and South America, Australia, Albania, Greece and Italy, India and Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other Asian countries. Freshwater reptiles have chosen rivers, lakes and swamps of the temperate zone of Eurasia, as well as water bodies of Africa, South America, Europe and Asia.
- Leatherback turtle (Latin Dermochelys coriacea),
- Far Eastern turtle (lat.Pelodiscus sinensis),
- Loggerhead (lat.Caretta caretta),
- Marsh turtle (lat.Emys orbicularis),
- Caspian turtle (lat.Mauremys caspica),
- Mediterranean turtle (Latin Testudo graeca).
What do turtles eat in nature??
The food of turtles directly depends on the species and their habitat. For example, for land turtles, the basis of nutrition is plant food: young tree branches, fruits and vegetables, grass and mushrooms. However, they sometimes consume snails, slugs and worms to maintain protein balance in the body. The land species fully satisfy the need for moisture by eating the juicy parts of the plants, however, when the opportunity arises, they drink water with great pleasure.
Freshwater and sea turtles are typical predators by nature. To maintain vitality, their “menu” should include small fish, frogs, snails and crustaceans (some species of turtles love to feast on shrimps, small cuttlefish and squid), bird eggs, insects (crickets, grasshoppers), mollusks and arthropods. Large turtles can even catch a bird like a duck. But along with this, in small quantities, aquatic turtles eat plant food, and herbivorous individuals eat animal food. There are freshwater turtles that eat frogs and fish at a young age, and when they mature, they switch to plant foods. There are also omnivorous species of sea turtles.
Some representatives of the genus have a very specific menu. For example, box turtles feed on poisonous mushrooms, while leatherback turtles and bees eat poisonous jellyfish. From this food, the meat of the turtles becomes poisonous, which can lead to poisoning in those who catch and eat these turtles.
Reproduction and life expectancy
The breeding process takes place throughout the year, but it has seasonal peaks in February. June and coincides with the rainy season. During the mating season, males arrange ritual fights. They bump into each other, stand on their hind legs, stretch their necks, open their mouths. In this case, a male with a smaller size retreats and concedes the right to mate to a larger one.
Nesting sites are located on a dry sandy coast. Females prepare nests for eggs by digging up the sand with their hind legs. Within a few days they dig round holes with a diameter of 30 cm. Eggs are laid in such nests. The clutch usually contains 16 eggs. They have a spherical shape, and the size of the egg corresponds to a billiard ball. On top of the eggs, the female throws sand moistened with her own urine. After that, it leaves the clutch to incubate. In the season, the female can lay from 1 to 4 clutches.
Temperature is of great importance during incubation. If it is low, then more males hatch, and if it is high, then mainly females are born. Young turtles leave their nests in 4-8 months. They weigh 50 g with a body length of 6 cm. The hatched cubs should crawl to the surface. They succeed if the ground is wet. But if it is dry and hardened, then young elephant turtles die.
The surviving youth develop over 10-15 years. It becomes sexually mature at the age of 20-25. In the wild, the elephant turtle has lived for over 100 years. But in captivity, life expectancy can reach 150 years. The most famous long-lived turtle was named Harriet. She died in 2006 at the Australian Zoo. At the time of her death, her age was 170 years.
GIANT ELEPHANT TURTLE
Ever seen the biggest turtle? No? Today you will have a unique opportunity to get to know her. this is the elephant turtle! We will tell you about such an unusual species, as well as about the life of a reptile in nature.
Interesting Giant Elephant Turtle Facts
Lichens often grow on the shells of turtles
Despite its impressive size, the turtle may well pull its neck headlong into the shell and hide its limbs there.
Turtles feed exclusively on vegetation
Reptiles breed at any time of the year
One clutch can contain 22 eggs
So, friends, we have learned a lot of interesting things about the donkey turtle: general characteristics, habitat and lifestyle, as well as great news. these creatures are no longer threatened with extinction!
Habitat of the giant elephant turtle
The giant elephant turtles are inhabitants of the Galapagos Islands, for this reason they got their middle name “Galapagos turtles”. To this day, these reptiles are inhabitants of the islands near the Pacific Ocean, but they can also be found near the Indian Ocean on the island of Aldabra.
Turtles live in very difficult climatic conditions with high temperatures, which is why they try to live closer to tropical forests, in savannas and arnica bushes overgrown with shrubs. It is interesting that giant elephant turtles move with caution in the daytime, and at night they lose their vigilance, although they don’t really see anything in their path.
Description of the giant elephant turtle
The elephant turtle is a land-based species that grows up to 1.8 meters in length with a body weight of 400 kg, and the body is covered with a powerful bony shell of light brown color. True, at the moment, these reptiles have been threatened with extinction since 1970, and in the 20th century, the most famous “Lone George”, who was kept in captivity, died, after which a sudden decision was made to raise babies in captivity and release them to the islands. After all, one such turtle can live more than 100 years in the wild, and about 170 in captivity!
Friends, at the time of the 21st century, the number of elephant turtles has exceeded 19,000 and this is great news, because these amazing creatures are no longer on the verge of extinction!
How to feed your turtle at home?
Captive turtles need a balanced diet. The food of land reptiles includes the leaves of cabbage, dandelion or lettuce, pulp of apples, cucumbers, beets and tomatoes. Boiled chicken eggs are added as protein food, and vitamin supplements as needed.
Aquatic turtles can be fed at home with dried daphnia, bloodworms and earthworms, boiled chicken or beef. Sometimes you need to give live aquarium fish, as well as cockroaches and other small insects. Algae are grown in a separate aquarium as herbal supplements for aquatic reptiles, however, if this is not possible, lettuce leaves will do.
Moderation is the main condition for feeding animals. Young individuals are given food 2 times a day, one feeding is enough for adults. Turtles need to have a fasting day once a week.
Studies to determine tympania
To determine exactly what caused the disease, you should consult a veterinarian who can analyze all the symptoms and conduct the necessary examinations.
In addition to the above symptoms, the disease can be characterized by the raising of the back of the tortoise’s body due to the presence of a large amount of gas, while it can stretch the neck. It is also possible that the appearance of swelling of the skin in the groin, neck and armpits. As a result, it is very difficult for the turtle to hide under the shell.
It is very easy to diagnose tympania if an x-ray is taken, which easily shows the accumulation of excess gas in the intestines. Unfortunately, such a survey is not suitable for red-eared turtles due to their small size.
As a rule, such a disease is diagnosed using cytological examinations, nasal and oral discharge. To do this, swabs are taken from the turtle. In the case of pneumonia, the turtle will have lung tissue epithelium and a large number of bacteria.
Turtles know how to breathe booty. Tympania reasons
The causative agent of pneumonia is an infection that gets into the lungs of an animal. This is possible in two cases: the penetration of the infection into the lungs from the outside or from the inside, as a result of blood poisoning. As a result, inflammation begins to occur in the lungs. As a result, the density of the lungs changes and fluid begins to accumulate in them.
- As for tympania, it develops in the red-eared turtle as a result of calcium deficiency, which causes the appearance of dynamic intestinal obstruction. The fact is that calcium contributes to the normal functioning of the intestinal tract. With a lack of calcium ions, intestinal function is impaired, which leads to the appearance of excess gas in the intestines of the amphibian.
- As a result of this deficiency, spontaneous spasms of the intestines and sphincter can occur.
- Another reason for the appearance of tympania in the red-eared turtle is its overfeeding, while the turtle has a weak functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Such a disease can manifest itself against the background of a change in diet.
- Tympania may result from a foreign body in the rectum or sphincter.
- The pet constantly breathes through a half-open mouth.
- Mucous discharge is observed from the oral and nasal openings.
- Poor appetite or complete refusal to eat.
- During swimming, the animal falls on its side.
Tympania in the red-eared turtle
This is one of the most common red-eared turtle diseases. It can be easily confused with pneumonia due to similar symptoms and nature of the course. It is very important to understand what provokes such a disease and how to correctly identify it in order to carry out the correct treatment.
- If the turtle is active and does not refuse to eat, but at the same time some symptoms appear that indicate the presence of a disease, then first it should be put on a starvation diet for three days.
- Tympania in the red-eared turtle is treated with injections of 20% calcium borgluconate. The dosage of such a drug is within 1 ml per 1 kg of live weight. Using syringes of 1 ml or 2 ml, the solution is injected every other day 5-7 times.
- If there is an accumulation of gas in the intestines, then you can use the children’s “espumisan”. It should be diluted with water in a ratio of 1: 3 and introduced into the stomach using a special tube that can be purchased at a regular pharmacy. This procedure is repeated 4-5 times, with an interval of every other day.
- In addition, you can enter “Eliovit” once at the rate of 0.6 ml per 1 kg of weight. This drug is also given with a syringe.
There are times when the diagnosis is very difficult to establish or the symptoms indicate the presence of both tympania and pneumonia. In this case, the red-eared turtle begins to be treated for one and the other disease at the same time.
, It will not be superfluous to remind you that it is necessary to take care of animals and provide them with living conditions close to natural ones, providing them with adequate nutrition. In this case, you need to ensure that the water in the aquarium is constantly clean and, if necessary, is regularly changed. It should be obligatory to have an island where the turtle could dry out, rest and receive the necessary irradiation with an ultraviolet lamp.