Behavior

Softshell turtles may remain buried at the bottom of their aquatic habitat for most of the day; however, some species will bask on sandbars or steep riverbanks. Prolonged submergence is possible because they can absorb oxygen across the skin and lining of the throat. This is especially important for temperate species that hibernate for months beneath the ice. Conversely, the flap-shelled turtles may be adapted to long periods of drought. The protective shell enables these turtles to burrow deep into the mud and may prevent desiccation while estivating.

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