Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Arkansas
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Arkansas Project

Why do turtles "bask" at night?

July 2020 - December 2021


Participating Agencies

  • Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
  • Arkansas Game and Fish Commisssion
Red-eared sliders are on the primary turtles harvested in Arkansas and sold for meat.

The use of automated field research equipment, such as time-lapse game cameras, are allowing researchers to discover previously unknown behaviors of wildlife. Recently, researchers in Australia discovered that at least one species of turtle regularly comes out of the water at night to "bask". It is unknown how many turtles display this behavior and the underlying reasons why they do it. Together with collaborators across the globe, we are using time-lapse game cameras to explore how widespread this behavior is and to then explore potential hypotheses for the behavior including: predator avoidance, ectoparasite shedding, or thermoregulation.