Butt-Breathing Turtle Now Critically Endangered

Scientific American

December 12 2014

Few reptiles can breathe underwater. Australia is home to one of the exceptions, the white-throated snapping turtle (Elseya albagula), which can extract oxygen from water through its backside via a process called cloacal respiration. This unusual technique, shared by a handful of other turtle and fish species, gave the turtles an evolutionary advantage for millennia, allowing them to hide from predators underwater for days at a time. Read more