Ask the Aquarium — “Why do the turtles stretch out their legs?”

Ask the Aquarium — “Why do the turtles stretch out their legs?”


We’re doing turtle yoga here in the
swamp. We do it every single day, but what that means is for our aquatic turtles,
these guys living in their life in the water, they’ve got to get out and catch
some sunlight. So they’re crawling out and they are basking. What that means
for them is they have to absorb those sun light rays to help them fuel their
metabolism and their immune system system and stay, overall, very healthy. Now they’re
absorbing that sunlight into their shell, and so when you see them with arms laid
all the way out, they’re also making sure, in those webbed feet, that they are
absorbing any amount of sunlight that they can. Now, the most important part of
sunlight for them is actually the UVB ray, as that is going to help them
process calcium, which will help them to build a very sturdy shell and home.
Here in this delta swamp, we are in one of the three living forest galleries
that we have here at the Tennessee Aquarium, so we actually get regular, good,
old-fashioned sunlight coming down in here. So these guys will get regular
sunlight, but we have also added additional basking lights, platforms and
areas throughout the entire swamp country to make sure that we are ensuring that
everybody gets their chance to haul out find a spot and get some good turtle
yoga poses in for the day.

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