What’s more boring than watching Painted Turtles dry?

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Perhaps watching them grow by replacing shell plates (“scutes”).

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As for drying, why do Painted Turtles bask and why do some, but not all, pile on each other when doing so? It seems settled that they use thermal rays to help regulate their temperatures. However, some scientists theorize that Painted Turtles also must bask to obtain needed vitamin D and/or to kill parasites.

This does not explain why some Painted Turtles allow others to pile on them and block part of their needed sunlight. Others appear to avoid piling by basking vertically:

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But many join a turtle scrum, and there is no consensus as to why. Some scientists think that turtle piling is a defense against predators (more eyes and ears), but others claim that piling makes them more vulnerable. Some think that the pile is the result of competition for the best basking spot. Others think that it might be a social function.

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There’s so much that we don’t know about the world around us. (Brooklin, Maine)