biology zoology blog turtles animals diving

And the Gold Medal in Diving Goes to ……the Turtle!

The Turtle is a Gold medal diver

With a bit of exercise and healthy lungs, anybody can do what I could do even a few years ago: holding my breath and staying underwater for 2-3 minutes. The lazy South American sloth isn’t a good diver, but should the branch it clings on break off and the animal finds itself under-water, it can indeed hold its breath for 10-15 minutes; it’s simply quite a tough animal. But there is, of course, a limit to the duration anyone can stop breathing and ducks, for instance, can do much better than the average human. They, and other diving vertebrates as well, slow down their heart beats during the under-water period, which allows them to remain without oxygen longer in the submersed condition than in air with a normal heart beat. But while a duck’s dive would rarely exceed 10 minutes, that of the emperor penguin can last for 20 minutes and may take the bird to depths of around 200 m. —>—>