Look Who Is Basking in the Sun!

It is 99 degrees. I am standing in any shady place I can find looking for birds this morning. They too are in the shade of many tree branches thus challenging my ability to observe and photographic a bird! So I turn my attention to some, very easy to spot, turtles as they walk at a pond’s edge or lay on a rock or log!

When I returned home, I researched why turtles and lizards were basking in the sun, holding their legs out for more sun. Were they cold and needing heat? Were they hot and cooling off? 

I discover the scientific community no longer refers to turtles and lizards, reptiles, as cold-blooded animals. Forget the cold-blooded term for an animal getting their heat from outside their body. The turtle and lizard were basking in the sun to raise their body temperature which allows cellular chemical activity to speed up and these animals are now called ectothermic poikilotherms. 

These ectothermic poikilotherms, turtles and lizards, move slowly till their body warms up since they do not retain heat from the food they eat. Sunning themselves is important!

In case you are curious, humans once referred to as warm-blooded individuals are now called endothermic homeotherms. We eat to keep our body temperature steady no matter the environment. I now am sorry the turtle jumped into the pond when I possibly got to close … not sure it was done warming itself! I’ll be more careful in the future.

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