One of the oddball things about Charleston is that aside from the Waffle House, IHOP and a select few less-than-optimal establishments, you cannot get breakfast after 2 o’clock—3 if you’re lucky. Since I woke up at 1 on Sunday, the boyfriend and I scrambled to shower, dress, walk the dog, and get lucky. Given my penchant for sleeping in, I now maintain a list of “brunch ‘til 3” locations. One of them we’d not ventured to so close to pre-dawn: Liberty.
As I woke up crunching bacon and the boyfriend sipped his “manmosa,” I looked out the window to my left and crinkled my eyebrows. I nodded toward the sight and he turned his head to look. Together, we goggled at the slew of snapping turtles churning through the little lake toward a sandy beach near the parking lot. I craned my neck and located the target of their efforts: a trio of towheaded girls tossing chunks of bread into the water. Seagulls swooped in and out of view, ducks squawked for their share, and in came the turtles. A dozen heads broke the surface. They swam as if in formation. I imagined them basking on rocks and studying the migrating geese soaring overhead. I turned back to the boyfriend and asked him what on earth you’d call such a posse. He shrugged his cluelessness.
And so there I was, innocently Googling the word for a group of turtles (that would be a “bale,” or, less frequently, a “flotilla,” which is about 50 times more awesome), when I scrolled across a much more interesting tidbit that just might be break-the-ice-at-an-awkward-party worthy. Slightly less so for brunch, however. Here’s the question to ask when you aren’t surrounded by folks feasting on a cheesy egg scramble: Did you know some turtles can breathe out of their butts? Here are the details, courtesy of tortoise.org and Michael J. Connor.
Turtles have a “single rear vent,” the cloaca. Now, they use this vent for a bunch of activities, including passing waste and pushing out eggs. But the cloaca also has a pair of sacs called bursae, which possess membranes that allow for gas exchange. So, when a turtle is underwater, it can get a little oxygen into its system through this membrane. There is one Australian turtle, the Fitzroy River turtle, which gets up to two-thirds of its air supply in this manner.
File this under #yourewelcome, folks.
Featured image from Flickr/Scott Robison