Disclaimer: Nope….I have yet to acquire a turtle bipedal or otherwise… : (
Turtles are cold-blooded and the warmth provided (which should be around 90-95 degrees F or 32-35 degrees C) entices them to bask. They are able to engage in thermoregulation and their metabolism functions become elevated; the efficiency of their immune and digestive systems increase. Another benefit is that sliders absorb important UVB rays that are provided in unfiltered sunlight or through a special bulb. UVB rays become metabolized into vitamin D3 which is necessary to process calcium. Basking strengthens the shell as well as reduces algae growth on the shell. A clean healthy shell is less susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections…
April blinked before looking away from her computer to spot Leo stretched out on the front sidewalk at the farmhouse.
At first glance he looked dead, perfectly still, and laying flat on his stomach, only the sight of his elbows peeking out due to his arms being folded so that his hands were under his chin, was it obvious that he wasn't.
But he was definitely very comfortable in that spot.
He'd been there for six hours, hadn't twitched yet.
"Whatcha reading'?" Don asked as he entered the kitchen.
"I was trying to figure out why Leo hasn't twitched in like six hours," April replied.
Don followed her gaze and chuckled.
"Most likely because he's asleep," Don commented with a grin.
"Don I've never known Leo to just fall asleep somewhere," April commented.
"Because you've never seen him bask before," Don laughed, "we all get sleepy when we bask…Leo usually goes out like a light and Raph gets super mellow. Mikey and I just get really drowsy."
"When do you guys bask?" April asked, "I mean its not like you guys can go outside in broad daylight."
"I have special lights installed in the infirmary and a black mat on the floor. We don't need to bask near as much as normal turtles, but, Splinter used to sneak us up every couple weeks to bask by the river banks when we were kids, now with those lights we bask about once a week. Remember how short we were when you first met us?" Don replied as he leaned back against the counter.
"You guys weren't getting enough basking time," April commented.
"Our growth was slightly stunted yeah," Don replied, "after we met you I had access to someone who could go into a store and buy the lights we needed."
"That's why you had me run to the store after I offered to buy you guys some stuff," April realized with a grin.
"Leo was actually getting sick because of it, or lack of, by the time we met you. We were all for lack of a better term 'feeling gross'. Plus Raph had the start of Dysecdysis hitting him because he hadn't been basking while his scutes were shedding," Don ended with a sigh.
April flinched, remembering the note about infection under the scutes that were retained because they were being shed properly due to lack of basking time.
"How'd you treat that?" April whispered.
"Patience and forcing Raph to lay under those lights for quite a while. They finally shed enough I could treat the infection itself and thankfully he never got Shell-Rot because of it," Don finished with a shudder.
April flinched again before she glanced at her screen and clicked on something before pausing.
"Is Leo shedding scutes? Its says they turn kind of golden," April commented.
"Leo's the eldest and tends to grow before the rest of us so yeah, he's due for another growth spurt here and I'm guessing this is the last one. The shell expands first with us, then the rest of our body catches up. Unfortunately that includes lots of cramping and being uncomfortable for a about a week or two," Don replied.
There was a shout and a girly scream causing them to turn their attention toward the outside.
Leo was launching himself after Mikey who had just tossed a bucket aside and was high tailing it away as fast as he could.
"Also…we learned right away never, under any circumstances, piss Leo off when he's basking…it's like ten times worse than Raph on a bad day. Mikey was so asking for that whooping…" Don ended with a grin.
"So basically a territorial thing?" April asked.
"No not exactly…normal turtles might pile on top of each other to bask. And we've done that before. I've walked in to find Raph dozing against Leo's shell on that mat before…pretty funny actually. I totally took a picture for blackmail purposes," Don replied.
"Nice," April laughed.
"Anyway, its more like….he's so relaxed that he just jumps to an extreme if you startle him. With the rest of us were so mellow were sleepy enough it doesn't really bother us. But Leo oh master of control hates being snuck up on so he just reacts. Plus I guess being the top turtle its his way of declaring basking rights…" Don laughed.
Raph entered the kitchen with a completely mellow expression on his features.
"Nice bask?" Don asked softly.
Raph grunted slightly.
"Where were you?" April asked.
"The roof," he mumbled in response, causing April to laugh and Don to shake his head.
Meanwhile Mikey found himself locked in the trunk of April's car as Leo returned to his spot and grumbled about the wet cement before wandering off to find a new area to stretch out.
A/N: LOL oh poor Mikey…but yeah I sort of picture Leo becoming uber relaxed and just falling asleep and Raph totally mellowing out…
Plus I was trying to figure out why the guys were so short when normal Red Eeared Sliders get about 5-12 inches long…you know like a foot long at best…so I figured it was due to health issues, like not enough basking time and they might get taller if they were able to get the nutrients they needed from basking. But ya know it also makes an interesting oneshot…