Amazing things about Turtles

Turtles are among one of the oldest and most primitive groups of reptiles in the world. If we look into the history they even existed over 200 million years ago.  Turtles are so versatile that they exist all over the world and they can survive well in every type of climate. Being reptiles they are cold-blooded animals which means that they are active in the summer season where hibernate during the winter season as their blood is not able to provide enough warmth to stay active.

According to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) the turtle order, Chelonia or Testudines, divides into two suborders

  • Cryptodira
  • Pleurodira

This is further divided into 13 families, 75 genera and more than 300 species.

Turtle, Tortoise, and Terrapin are often confused for the same thing but it is not so and there are distinct differences between the types of chelonians.

How to Differentiate Between Turtle, Tortoise, and Terrapin?

Usually, Turtle, Tortoise, and terrapin are considered as the same but it is not a fact, they only belong to same order that is Testudines or Chelonia which is reptiles having bodies encased in a bony shell.

Turtles:

Turtles are adapted for aquatic life and they spend most of their lives in water. They have a streamlined body. Their feet or flippers are webbed. Sea turtles mostly stay in the ocean, except they come out on the sand to lay eggs. Freshwater turtles live in lakes and ponds and they come out of the water onto the rocks and logs to bask in the sun to warm up their bodies.

According to the feeding habits turtles are omnivores. They can eat both vegetables and meat.

Tortoise:

Tortoises live on land so they are exclusively land animals. Their body is adapted for living on land. They have round and stumpy feet which make it easy for them to walk on land. They can even dig a burrow with the help of their strong forelimbs and slip underground when it is hot outside. Tortoises are mostly vegetarian in nature.

Terrapins:

Terrapins live both on land and in water. They are found in rivers, lakes, and swamps.

How Does Turtle look?

Turtle are reptiles having a hard outer shell which is used for protection. These hard outer shells have over 60 bones in them. There are a lot of different turtles varying in their sizes and color. Some turtles have a beautiful different pattern on their bodies and shells. Some turtles can hide in their shell when they feel insecure or sense danger around them, where some species of turtle can’t do so. Turtle’s shell has three main parts:

  • Carapace: The upper or top piece
  • Plastron: The bottom piece
  • The bridge that fuses the upper and lower pieces together

The upper piece of turtles’ shell is flatter which helps them to swim. The shell of a turtle is attached to their body so as the turtle grows its shell grows along with their body and they don’t have to look for the bigger shell. Some turtles have their shell covered with hard scutes called shields which provide protection to their shells. These scutes are made up of a protein named keratin which is the most abundant type of protein on earth.

There are some turtles with the soft shells which lack the scutes made up of protein on their shells. The shell of such turtles is protected by the thick skin.

Turtles’ have different colored shells some are brown, olive green or black, where some turtles have markings on their shells that are red, orange, gray or yellow in color.

Types of Turtles:

The families of the turtles are grouped into various types such as the sea turtle, snapping turtle, mud turtles, side-necked turtle, true tortoises, soft-shell turtle, river turtles, etc. List of the known turtles is as follow:

  • Common Snapping Turtle
  • Loggerhead sea turtle
  • Green sea turtle
  • Hawksbill sea turtle
  • Olive ridley sea turtle
  • Kemp’s ridley sea turtle
  • Flatback sea turtle
  • Leatherback sea turtle
  • Big-headed turtle
  • Spotted turtle
  • Blanding’s turtle
  • European pond turtle
  • Sicilian pond turtle
  • Western pond turtle
  • Bog turtle
  • Wood turtle
  • Common box turtle
  • Ornate box turtle
  • Spotted box turtle
  • Painted turtle
  • Chicken turtle
  • Alabama map turtle
  • Barbour’s map turtle
  • Black-knobbed map turtle
  • Cagle’s map turtle
  • Escambia map turtle
  • False map turtle
  • Northern map turtle
  • Ouachita map turtle
  • Pascagoula map turtle
  • Pearl River map turtle
  • Ringed map turtle
  • Texas map turtle
  • Yellow-blotched sawback or yellow-blotched map turtle
  • Burmese roofed turtle
  • Saw-jawed turtle
  • Red-crowned roofed turtle
  • Three-striped roofed turtle
  • Black pond turtle or Spotted pond turtle
  • Crowned river turtle or Brahminy river turtle
  • Assam roofed turtle
  • Brown roofed turtle
  • Indian roofed turtle
  • Indian tent turtle
  • Chinese pond turtle
  • Chinese broad-headed pond turtle
  • Red-necked pond turtle
  • Amboina box turtle
  • Chinese three-striped turtle
  • McCord’s box turtle
  • Pan’s box turtle
  • Yunnan box turtle
  • Yellow-margined box turtle
  • Asian leaf turtle
  • Assam leaf turtle
  • Enigmatic leaf turtle
  • Black-breasted hill turtle
  • Sulawesi forest turtle
  • Spiny turtle
  • Yellow-headed temple turtle
  • Japanese pond turtle
  • Spanish pond turtle
  • Yellow pond turtle
  • Indian black turtle
  • Philippon’s striped turtle
  • Keeled box turtle
  • Black river turtle
  • Brown wood turtle
  • Furrowed wood turtle
  • Large-nosed wood turtle
  • Maracaibo wood turtle
  • Mexican spotted wood turtle
  • Painted wood turtle
  • Spot-legged turtle
  • Chinese false-eyed turtle
  • Four-eyed turtle
  • Black marsh turtle
  • Philippine forest turtle
  • Beal’s four-eyed turtle
  • Black marsh turtle
  • Cochin forest cane turtle
  • Central American river turtle or Mesoamerican river turtle
  • Central American mud turtle

Which type of turtles can be kept as a pet?

All types of turtles are not good equally to be kept as a pet as their requirement varies. You have to select the type of turtle which is most suitable for keeping as a pet so that you may enjoy it fully having a turtle as a pet. In some species, females grow to be much larger than the male turtle. The following are the types of turtles that are considered as ideal for keeping as a pet:

  • Red-eared sliders

These turtle lives in water though it does require land to lay eggs. They can grow up to the size of 11 inches. It is the most popular type of turtle to be kept as pet throughout the world.

  • Painted turtle

Painted turtles are the colorful turtle which can grow as long as 7 inches. These are widespread native turtles throughout the United States.

  • Central American wood turtle

Central American wood turtle is also named as the ornate wood turtle. They are mostly herbivore and rely on vegetables more but if you offer them insect or worm occasionally they will be glad by taking it. They may grow up to the size of 9 inches.

  • African aquatic side-neck turtle

They are the aquatic animal and live in water but they need a place where they can bask in the light. They are an omnivore and can eat both meat and vegetables. They have an unusual folding neck. African aquatic side-neck turtle can grow as long as eight inches.

  • Caspian pond turtle

Caspian pond turtle is a semi-aquatic animal as they need land as well as water for their survival. They are omnivores in nature. They can grow up to 9 inches in size.

  • Greek tortoise

They can grow up to 12 inches. They are the land-dwelling animal and need water in a shallow dish where they can soak and drink. They are strictly herbivore in nature; they only rely on vegetable as food for survival.

  • Russian tortoise

They are also land-dwellers and need a shallow water dish to soak and drink water. They can grow up to 8 inches.

  • Reeve’s Turtle

They inhabit lakes, ponds and small streams. They prefer still or slow-moving water with a soft bottom and lots of vegetation as they are herbivore in nature and rely on vegetables for their survival. They can grow up to the size of 9 inches in size.

  • Eastern box turtle

They have very short lives in captivity. It is not easy to keep them as a pet as they require high humidity, a suitable substrate for burrowing, warmth, and access to ultraviolet light. They are very popular type among pets.

  • Mississippi Map Turtle

They are named the Mississippi map turtle for their map-like markings. They prefer to stay in moving water than in ponds and creeks. They like large flowing bodies of water like a river. With excellent water quality, they can be easily kept as a pet.

Why Do You Have a Turtle as a Pet?

Turtle seems like the perfect pet as they require less work than dogs and cats but more interactive than fish. Some turtles are very beautiful and cute and it is often hard to resist them. Turtles are very interesting and have an individual personality. Turtles are long-lived animals often they outlive their original owners and may pass from generation to generation within families.

The very interesting fact about turtles is that they recognize their owner where most people don’t realize is that their pet turtle recognizes the sight and sound of their owners. Turtles are comparatively cheaper pet than other average pet people would buy. It is easy to give proper maintenance to the turtles, you have to feed them and give them enough space to roam around when they can enjoy themselves.

It is very easy to carry turtle anywhere along with you as they are small and easily accessible. Turtles are harmless animals; turtles that are found at your local pet store will not hurt you. The one of a very important fact about having turtle is that they always stay with you as they are long-lived and secondly if they run away, they won’t go far away unless you notice their absence and get them back. Turtles are hardy and can be wonderful pets.

Terrarium for Your Pet Turtle:

As turtles are adapted for aquatic life, they spend most of their time in the water for which they are typically kept in rectangular tanks filled with water. Aquatic turtles still often need to dry off themselves for which they require a basking area in their tank which typically can be a large rock where they climb up and hang out. It is to be kept in mind that turtles love to eat rocks. But as eating rocks can cause gastrointestinal tract obstruction in turtles so make sure that the rocks in the tank and the gravel in the bottom or that id used for basking areas are bigger than your turtle’s head so that inadvertent snacking can be avoided.

While taking tank for you turtle is to be noticed that even very tiny turtles need big spaces and according to the approximate measurement turtle tank need to be five times the length of an adult turtle and water must be two and a half times as deep as turtle is long so the bigger turtle requires the bigger tank and the greater volume of water to live happily.

To keep the water clean and maintain the water quality powerful filters are required as turtle eat and defecate at the place where they live. The filters need to be cleaned or changed regularly depending on the size of the tank and number of the specimen in the tank.

Which type of turtles can be kept as a pet?

All types of turtles are not good equally to be kept as a pet as their requirement varies. You have to select the type of turtle which is most suitable for keeping as a pet so that you may enjoy it fully having a turtle as a pet. In some species, females grow to be much larger than the male turtle. The following are the types of turtles that are considered as ideal for keeping as a pet:

  • Red-eared sliders

These turtle lives in water though it does require land to lay eggs. They can grow up to the size of 11 inches. It is the most popular type of turtle to be kept as pet throughout the world.

  • Painted turtle

Painted turtles are the colorful turtle which can grow as long as 7 inches. These are widespread native turtles throughout the United States.

  • Central American wood turtle

Central American wood turtle is also named as the ornate wood turtle. They are mostly herbivore and rely on vegetables more but if you offer them insect or worm occasionally they will be glad by taking it. They may grow up to the size of 9 inches.

  • African aquatic side-neck turtle

They are the aquatic animal and live in water but they need a place where they can bask in the light. They are an omnivore and can eat both meat and vegetables. They have an unusual folding neck. African aquatic side-neck turtle can grow as long as eight inches.

  • Caspian pond turtle

Caspian pond turtle is a semi-aquatic animal as they need land as well as water for their survival. They are omnivores in nature. They can grow up to 9 inches in size.

  • Greek tortoise

They can grow up to 12 inches. They are the land-dwelling animal and need water in a shallow dish where they can soak and drink. They are strictly herbivore in nature; they only rely on vegetable as food for survival.

  • Russian tortoise

They are also land-dwellers and need a shallow water dish to soak and drink water. They can grow up to 8 inches.

  • Reeve’s Turtle

They inhabit lakes, ponds and small streams. They prefer still or slow-moving water with a soft bottom and lots of vegetation as they are herbivore in nature and rely on vegetables for their survival. They can grow up to the size of 9 inches in size.

  • Eastern box turtle

They have very short lives in captivity. It is not easy to keep them as a pet as they require high humidity, a suitable substrate for burrowing, warmth, and access to ultraviolet light. They are very popular type among pets.

  • Mississippi Map Turtle

They are named the Mississippi map turtle for their map-like markings. They prefer to stay in moving water than in ponds and creeks. They like large flowing bodies of water like a river. With excellent water quality, they can be easily kept as a pet.

Why Do You Have a Turtle as a Pet?

Turtle seems like the perfect pet as they require less work than dogs and cats but more interactive than fish. Some turtles are very beautiful and cute and it is often hard to resist them. Turtles are very interesting and have an individual personality. Turtles are long-lived animals often they outlive their original owners and may pass from generation to generation within families.

The very interesting fact about turtles is that they recognize their owner where most people don’t realize is that their pet turtle recognizes the sight and sound of their owners. Turtles are comparatively cheaper pet than other average pet people would buy. It is easy to give proper maintenance to the turtles, you have to feed them and give them enough space to roam around when they can enjoy themselves.

It is very easy to carry turtle anywhere along with you as they are small and easily accessible. Turtles are harmless animals; turtles that are found at your local pet store will not hurt you. The one of a very important fact about having turtle is that they always stay with you as they are long-lived and secondly if they run away, they won’t go far away unless you notice their absence and get them back. Turtles are hardy and can be wonderful pets.

Terrarium for Your Pet Turtle:

As turtles are adapted for aquatic life, they spend most of their time in the water for which they are typically kept in rectangular tanks filled with water. Aquatic turtles still often need to dry off themselves for which they require a basking area in their tank which typically can be a large rock where they climb up and hang out. It is to be kept in mind that turtles love to eat rocks. But as eating rocks can cause gastrointestinal tract obstruction in turtles so make sure that the rocks in the tank and the gravel in the bottom or that id used for basking areas are bigger than your turtle’s head so that inadvertent snacking can be avoided.

While taking tank for you turtle is to be noticed that even very tiny turtles need big spaces and according to the approximate measurement turtle tank need to be five times the length of an adult turtle and water must be two and a half times as deep as turtle is long so the bigger turtle requires the bigger tank and the greater volume of water to live happily.

To keep the water clean and maintain the water quality powerful filters are required as turtle eat and defecate at the place where they live. The filters need to be cleaned or changed regularly depending on the size of the tank and number of the specimen in the tank.

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