How do turtles survive underwater? © Getty Images

How do turtles survive underwater?

Though turtles have adapted to stay underwater a lot longer than us they still need to come up for breathe eventually.

Asked by: Robert Lee, Penzance

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Even humans can survive underwater for a bit. The main problem is the lack of oxygen. Like us, turtles simply come up to breathe, although being cold-blooded they don’t use oxygen as quickly. To avoid lung pressure problems, deep-diving turtles have considerable oxygen stores in blood and tissues. Research in several species also shows various adaptions to low oxygen/high carbon dioxide levels, for example, better tolerance of acid blood.


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