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The rain dance

Marginate duscht sich im Regen.
Griechische Landschildkröte nach einem Gewitterregen.

In the hot summer months, European tortoises have to be very sparing with the water that is vital for them.

In summer it is often only possible for the turtles to take in plenty of fluids when it rains. Nature has adjusted the turtles to this circumstance and developed mechanisms triggered by certain stimuli so that the turtles can survive the time between rainfalls unscathed.

One of these mechanisms is the rain dance, which is triggered by the rains and stimulates the bowel and bladder activity, which has stalled in summer, in order to ultimately take in as much fresh water as possible.

After a long period of drought, the activity of the turtles increases significantly when it rains.

Stimulated by the rain, the turtles come out of their hiding places and perform real "rain dances". It looks quite funny when they rhythmically rub their tail back and forth on the floor with stretched back legs and sweeping step movements and wiggle their entire backside while dancing. After a few minutes of dancing, the bladder and bowel are completely emptied.

To survive long periods of drought, however, extensive drinking is not enough. The turtles also need to be able to use the water stored in their body  use it sparingly.

Read more about this in my books, “Natural keeping and breeding of the Greek tortoise” and especially “European tortoises, habitat and way of life”. Here I have dedicated a separate chapter to the important topic of fluid requirements and described the related facts in detail. 

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