Here are some interesting and fun facts that you might not
have known about turtles, terrapins and tortoises:
*** Turtle is the English common name given to all the
animals in the order Chelonia. All the Chelonia are
Reptiles, as are lizards and snakes. All Chelonia lay eggs
and they all have scales, although on some the scales are
small and hard to see. And like all Reptiles, all are cold
blooded and manage their body temperatures by moving to a
cooler or warmer spot. There are 13 "families" of turtles in
the order Chelonia, from the huge 8 foot Leatherback Turtle
to the tiny 3 inch long Bog Turtle.
*** In Australia, all Chelonia except the
Sea Turtle are
called tortoises, but in Europe and the Americas, the name
tortoise is reserved for land dwelling turtles. A tortoise
only goes in the water to bathe or drink, and their feet are
round like an elephant's and not webbed for swimming so they
can walk on land easily.
*** A terrapin lives both on land and in the water, and
always lives near the water. The word terrapin comes from a
Native American word for "little turtle," and
are a good example of a Terrapin.
*** Turtles do not have teeth. They do, however have very
sharp beaks and many can bite very well, teeth or not. The
Snapping Turtle has been known to bite off fingers!
*** A turtle can live for 30 years or more, and some are
thought to live as long as 100 years.
*** Most turtle keepers call a group of turtles a "herd,"
but the actual word for a herd of turtles is a "bale." Why?
We don't know.
*** There is a kind of turtle called a Snake Neck that has a
neck as long as its body is, and some turtles can fold their
heads sideways into their shells so a predator can't bite
*** Some turtles can breathe underwater with their bottoms
(cloacae), and most can drink with their skin.
*** Some turtles can live as long as a year without eating!
*** Sea turtles can travel thousands of miles across the
oceans and still find their way back to lay their eggs on
the exact beach where they were born.
*** Turtles live on every continent except Antarctica, in
deserts, in forests, on mountains, in rivers, in the oceans,
maybe even in your backyard.
*** A turtle's shell has up to 61 bones, which are part of
its skeleton and attached to its backbone.
*** Turtles don't have ears, but they are very sensitive to
vibrations. It is very hard to sneak up on a turtle!