Do Sea Turtles Breathe Out Their Butts?

Sea turtles are fascinating creatures that have been living in the ocean for millions of years. They come in different shapes and sizes, and they have unique characteristics that make them stand out from other marine animals. One of the most peculiar questions that people ask about sea turtles is whether they breathe out of their butts or not.

No, sea turtles do not breathe out of their butts. Sea turtles are air-breathing reptiles, meaning they must come up to the surface of the water in order to breathe. They have two sets of lungs and use their mouth and nostrils (located on the top of their head) to inhale oxygen from the air.

Oxygen is then passed into their bloodstream through tiny blood vessels located in the lining of their lung tissue. The carbon dioxide that was produced during respiration is expelled through exhalation out of its nostrils or sometimes its mouth.

Introduction to Sea Turtles

Before we dive into the topic of sea turtles breathing out of their butts, let’s first talk about these amazing creatures. Sea turtles are reptiles that can be found in all oceans of the world except for the polar regions. They have hard shell that protects their body, and they use their flippers to swim through the water. Sea turtles are also known for their longevity, as they can live up to 100 years in the wild.

Types of Sea Turtles

There are seven different species of sea turtles, each with its own unique characteristics. These species include:

  • Green sea turtle
  • Loggerhead sea turtle
  • Kemp’s ridley sea turtle
  • Olive ridley sea turtle
  • Hawksbill sea turtle
  • Flatback sea turtle
  • Leatherback sea turtle

Each of these species has different characteristics that make them unique. For example, the leatherback sea turtle is the largest of all sea turtles and can weigh up to 2,000 pounds.

Breathing of Sea Turtles

Sea turtles, like all reptiles, have lungs and breathe air. They are not able to breathe underwater like fish, but they can hold their breath for long periods of time. Sea turtles can stay underwater for several hours while they search for food or escape from predators. When they need to breathe, they come to the surface of the water and take a breath of air.

Do Sea Turtles Breathe Out of Their Butts?

No, contrary to popular belief, sea turtles do not breathe out of their butts. While they do have two small holes near the base of their tail that are sometimes mistaken for breathing holes, these are actually cloacal vent openings used in reproduction and excretion. The actual breathing system of a sea turtle is far more complex than just expelling air from its rear end!

Cloacal Respiration

However, there is a scientific phenomenon called cloacal respiration that is sometimes mistaken for sea turtles breathing out of their butts. The cloaca is a common opening that is found in some animals, including sea turtles. The cloaca is used for excretion and reproductive functions, but it can also absorb oxygen. Some sea turtles can absorb oxygen through their cloaca when they are in anoxic (low oxygen) water conditions.

Bottom Resting

Another behavior that is sometimes mistaken for sea turtles breathing out of their butts is bottom resting. Sea turtles can rest on the bottom of the ocean for long periods of time. While they are resting, they slow down their metabolism, which allows them to conserve energy. When they are resting, they may release air bubbles from their cloaca, which can be mistaken for them breathing out of their butts.

They Have Lungs And They Use Them to Breathe Air

Mammals are one of the most diverse and versatile species on earth. They come in all shapes and sizes, from small rodents to large whales. What many people don’t know is that all mammals share a common trait: they have lungs and use them to breathe air.

Most mammals rely on their lungs to take in oxygen, which is essential for life, as well as expel carbon dioxide waste products. Reptiles and amphibians tend to breathe through their skin or other body parts such as gills but not mammals! Mammalian lungs are complex organs consisting of millions of tiny air sacs called alveoli, which help absorb oxygen from the atmosphere into our bloodstream.

The amount of oxygen taken in by each mammal varies depending on its size and activity level; larger animals need more oxygen than smaller ones do. Additionally, some mammals can hold their breath for extended periods underwater an adaptation that helps them survive when hunting prey or fleeing predators underwater!

Can Turtles Breathe Through Their Butts?


It is clear that sea turtles do not breathe out of their butts. While there might be some gas exchange occurring in the cloaca region due to a high concentration of blood vessels, this does not constitute breathing. Sea turtles use their lungs to take oxygen from the water and release carbon dioxide back into the environment as any other air-breathing animal would.

Therefore, even though sea turtles may look funny when they stick their butt up out of the water, it sure isn’t because they are trying to breathe!