An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Painted Turtles Basking

4-27-18 painted turtle2 0U1A1070When a Painted Turtle crawls out of the roughly 39° F. degree mud at the bottom of a pond in early spring, it immediately heads to the nearest log or rock to bask and raise its body temperature. Turtles are ectothermic (cold-blooded) and must rely on external sources for the regulation of their body temperature. Thermoregulation is achieved both physically and behaviorally. A dark carapace (top shell) absorbs the sun’s heat, warming up the turtle’s internal temperature and the turtle regulates its temperature by shuffling in and out of the sun. It is imperative for the core body temperature of male Painted Turtles to reach 63° F., for only then can they start to produce sperm.

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When a Painted Turtle crawls out of the 39° F. degree mud at the bottom of a pond in early spring, it immediately heads to the nearest log or rock to bask and raise its body temperature. Turtles are ectothermic (cold-blooded) and must rely on external sources for the regulation of their body temperature. Thermoregulation is achieved both physically and behaviorally. Dark carapaces (top shell) absorb the sun’s heat, warming up the turtle’s internal temperature. The turtle regulates its temperature by shuffling in and out of the sun. It is imperative for the core body temperature of male Painted Turtles to reach 63° F., for only then can they start to produce sperm.

7 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    I love Turtles….there are lots in the small pond near us..fun to spot them laying eggs….they cross our quiet street to go to another body of water. Seems like every yearI I help several cross to the other side of the street, when I see them, while driving….hazard lights on, carefully moving them to the side of the street where they are headed.

    April 27, 2018 at 8:12 am

  2. bernard webb

    Attached is a picture of basking turtles taken in March at a pond in (warmer) coastal
    Georgia. (Whopps — do not know how to add a picture.

    April 27, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    • Unfortunately, Bernard, WordPress doesn’t allow you to send me a photo. But if you’d like you can send it to me at my email address, mholland@vermontel.net. I’d love to see it!

      April 27, 2018 at 5:53 pm

  3. Alice Pratt

    Sort of interesting that after spending months in the mud, that Turtles look so shiny & sparkly clean….not like they have the ability to clean themselves.

    April 27, 2018 at 6:30 pm

  4. Alice Pratt

    Snappers often have moss & dirt clinging to them…

    April 27, 2018 at 6:47 pm

  5. Kathryn

    Hi Mary. Can you repeat your email address? I have tried the one listed in the comments above and it won’t let me send anything. I have some great pictures of an ice pancake that I’d like to share with you.

    April 28, 2018 at 10:38 am

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