Article: All About Turtles and Tortoises! Print


Let’s be honest, turtles and tortoises are mysterious and strange creatures! They’re egg-laying, scaly reptiles with oval-shaped hard-shells. Tortoises live on land while turtles live in the water. Read below for some awesome turtle and tortoise facts!

  1. Turtle shells have two parts: an upper section, the carapace, and a lower portion called the pastron, which are joined by a bony bridge. Some turtles have a moveable joint, usually in the plastron, which acts as a hinge and enables the creature to pull the two shell sections together tightly while it retracts its body inside.
  2. Tortoises orbited the moon before astronauts did! In September 1968, the Societ Union launched a space probe to orbit the moon and test conditions. The probe included a life-size human mannequin and a pair of Russain tortoises
  3. The alligator snapping turtle catches prey by way of a clever evolutionary adaptation: an appendage to its tongue that, when wriggled, looks an awful lot like a worm, according to the Saint Louis Zoo. These guys can grow 2.5 feet long, can weigh as much as 200 pounds, and powerful jaws, a sharply-hooked beak, nasty bearlike claws and a muscular tail.
  4. They make sounds, even though they lack vocal cords! They can make sounds by swallowing or by forcing air out of their longs.
  5. Males select potential mates by sniffing tails.
  6. They don’t have ears, but they can perceive low-pitched sounds
  7. Turtles are nearly as old as dinosaurs!
  8. Turtles breathe without a diaphragm
  9. Just like us, they have favorite colors!
  10. The African helmeted turtle smells so bad it has been compared to skunks.

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