Oct 4, 2008

Of Algae, Smiles, and Yoga

Rasmus, Kat, and Ida forwarded me this link (synchronicity at play). You're looking at a Mary River Turtle whose head (and face and shell) have sprouted a living crop of algae. I imagine these shallow-water dwellers aren't the fastest moving of turtles, which is saying something.

The Mary River Turtle is native to, can you guess it, the Mary River in Australia. It's become an icon for the environmental movement down there, as it is threatened, and is further endangered by government plans to construct a dam on the river. What's amazing about this turtle is that it breathes through lung-like structures in its tail. Is the snout cosmetic only? Does it breathe through its tail, or does it breathe through its nose all the way down to its tail? If the latter is true (which it must be), then that puts yoga breathing exercises to shame.

Without lungs in its thoracic cavity, that leaves more room for...what? Liver, gizzard, stomach? Or could it be heart? How precious can this little creature get? A big hearted, algae haired, blue-green eyed, yogic, smiling creature that slowly wades through the shallows of a river under threat. I need to sit down and write a children's story.

Photo source: Chris Van Wyk via DailyMail.co.uk




16 comments:

Thistle said...

Punk rawk

Yvonne Navarro said...

Gosh, it's really kind of adorable.

Neil said...

Something to add to the children's story:

The "tail breathing" is actually cloacal respiration - that is, absorbing oxygen through its excretory orifice. This is something that's practiced by a number of turtles although all retain regular lungs and also breathe the more "normal" way through their nostrils.

If you are an aquatic air-breather I suppose being able to breathe through both ends comes in handy.

niner said...

This has got to be the most adorable turtle EVER. Just wow! I love it!

Does the algae harm the turtle in any way? Like when it's swimming around the algae gets stuck in it's eye or something.

Flartus said...

The second pic makes him look like a combination of several animals: walrus, frog and something from an animated Disney movie.

Kath aka Sleepydumpling said...

Breathing through his arse hey? I know a lot of my fellow Aussies who talk through theirs!

Danielle said...

It's adorable!

And it's smiling. I think we need a name for him...or her.

JAS said...

If I actually believed in reincarnation, I'd swear this is Jim Henson!

Vanessa said...

I love him!

Anonymous said...

Awww, looks like hes sporting a mohawk!

Victorya said...

It does look like something out of an 80;'s Jim Henson production.

Or the giant turtle in the Neverending Story.

"We don't care, whether we care or not"

Cute.

Kit said...

Wow, he's got a mohawk, a two-prong beard, and blue eyes. He's TOTALLY a Jim Henson muppet. He's got the color!

Raging Wombat said...

cloacal respiration - kind of ruins the kid's book angle...

booge said...

It breathes through its ass--there is nothing more punk rock than that, is there? Reverse farting? I love you, Mary.

Wombat, you're missing out. Kids of all ages love fart jokes. You could sell little toys with the books that have air bladders in 'em that you squeeze to let the air in and out, with the requisite noises, of course.

Anonymous said...

The Jordy Verrill of the turtle world. (Creepshow, represent.)

Raging Wombat said...

You're right, booge. I've grown so accustomed to my daughter's princess books, that I've forgotten about all the scatological humor I'm missing out on.