All About Turtles – The Essential Guide

All About Turtles All About Turtles – The Essential Guide. It can be hard to talk about turtles properly in North America because what we refer to as turtles is not really what a turtle is. While traditionally we use the word to describe those shelled reptiles that live by the water it really refers to any shelled reptile there is. In this part of the world we generally refer to the land turtles as tortoises.

All About Turtles – The Essential Guide

So though we separate the species in our minds by assigning different words, they are really all one. These are little guys that are born with a shell. It is a bony leathery shell that grows with them and is pretty much carried with them for life.

Turtles are resilient creatures and perhaps one of the best examples of evolved life on Earth. This is because they have survived longer than most any other species that has come along. The earliest known turtles lived so long ago that dinosaurs were walking the earth with them, but when the disaster struck to wipe out the dinosaurs the turtles managed to survive. They also survived another life altering disaster a few million years later.

Now these guys back then were so well evolved, that is to say they were such a perfect specimen of what they should be, that the oldest fossils we know of are not much different than the ones that roam around today. That means that in the past millions of years turtles have not changed, and have not had to change, all that much in order to survive. Compare that with humans who have evolved dramatically from where we were just a million years ago.

All About Turtles – Facts About Turtles

Turtles are fascinating creatures with a long, rich history, and over the last couple of decades they have become more popular as pets. They can make unique and wonderful pets. Anyone that is thinking of having one of these creatures will find that learning about them is an enthralling experience. However, there is a lot more to them than you might think. Below are some fascinating facts about turtles that allow you to learn more about these creatures.

  • Turtles are cold-blooded creatures and use basking to help regulate their temperatures
  • There are around three hundred different species around today
  • All species are known to lay their eggs on land
  • The first known turtles were in existence an amazing 200 million years ago
  • Antarctica is the only continent on which they do not live
  • Whilst there are many species that hibernate there are also some that do not
  • Some females can go for around four years after mating before they lay their eggs
  • Whilst turtles and tortoises are thought to be slow, there are some land turtles that could outrun humans
  • Some people think that their shells are not breakable, but these shells can and do break
  • The shells are built into the creature’s skeleton, with the top shell being made up of around fifty bones
  • These creatures are not able to stick their tongue out of their mouth
  • There are many that are excellent at climbing
  • Aquatic turtles can only eat whilst in water
  • Lack of proper care and diet can lead to these creatures contracting Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)
  • The different species have different needs when it comes to matters such as diet, environment, and care. It is therefore vital for people considering getting one of these creatures to thoroughly research the species they are thinking of getting
  • The shells have nerve endings and therefore have feelings
  • They are able to see in colour, and have very good eyesight and sense of smell
  • There are some who can go without food for a year and still live
  • The skin is shed in small flakes and not in pieces like other reptilian creatures
  • A number of species can live to be over one hundred years old. For example there was a case where one that was captured at the estimated age of fifty continued to live for over one hundred and fifty years more whilst in captivity
  • Sea turtles are able to swim at a rate of 35 miles per hour
  • These creatures are equipped with a sharp beak with which to eat rather than having teeth

All About Turtles Breeding and Gender

Determining the sex of a turtle may seem to be a several step process that many do not understand. While there are many different means of checking the sex of your turtle; there are a few steps that can be taken to determine the sex of just about any turtle no matter the species.

First, look at the bottom of your turtle’s shell. If the bottom part of the shell swells or protrudes out, it is more than likely a female; while the reverse usually indicates a male. Remember; never turn your turtle on its back! This can cause injury to your turtle.

Next, look over your turtle’s tail. There will be a hole (or the cloaca) on their tail. A male’s cloaca is generally half the distance from shell to the tip of the tail. While a female’s cloaca is closer in to their body and almost overlapping of the turtle’s shell. Along this same note; the male’s tale will be thicker than a female turtle’s tail. Male turtle’s front claws are also generally longer then a female’s claws.

Please note that none of these are sure-fire ways of telling the sex of your turtle. The best way to do so is by taking your little friend to the nearest turtle vet!

Turtle breeding is something that few turtle owners think of. However, if you have chosen to take the path of turtle breeding; there are a few things that you need to consider before breeding. First and foremost, you need to create a natural-habitat for your turtles. They must be comfortable in the captive habitat you have created to breed. You will need to allow them a certain amount of freedom to provide them enough comfort for them to breed.

You must learn as much about the species of turtle you intend to breed as possible. You should locate an expert in your area or through the internet; allowing you to gather all of the information on the species habitat, diet, and breeding habits.

Once you have taken the step in turtle breeding, always have a vet near-by who specializes in turtles. This will ensure that your new baby turtles are safe and will hatch without problem. However, with that said; you must also comply with your local state law. Simply because many states have laws on owning turtles that are under four inches long; and require you to register as a turtle breeder before this law is waived.

All About Turtles –¬†Different Types of Turtles

There are various types of turtles available in pet stores that you can keep as your pet. Here are a few common varieties that make good household pets.

Peninsular Cooter

For starters, the Peninsular Cooter is an easy and ideal choice for a pet turtle as it can be raised with ease by a beginner. They are mostly herbivorous, hardy species that feed on fish and insects during the juvenile phase. In the summer, they love to bake themselves in the bright sun near a pond or any water body. They can easily adjust to a community tank.


Among starters, the Red Eared Slider Turtle is by far the most popular choice to date. Their preferred habitats are water set-ups with land nearby or turtle tanks. They are distinguished by their bright scarlet ear. Not only are the red-eared variety popular, but all its slider cousins are excellent choices for first time turtle owners. Slider turtles love to chomp on pellets, insects, fish, and greens as they are omnivorous creatures.

North American Wood Turtle

Intermediate owners who have been previously exposed to the experience of caring for pet turtles and have done thorough research may want to get a North American Wood Turtle. North American Wood Turtles have sharp brains and can learn quickly if you provide the right guidance. In the wilderness, they prefer to live in crystal-clear mountain streams with cool gurgling waters.

As a pet, they will try to choose water or land for their habitat as they are amphibians by nature. They love to climb, dive to river beds, nap, bask, burrow, swim, and paddle about in the water. They are also highly inquisitive creatures and have a predilection for exploration.

Asian Box Turtles

Asian Box Turtles originate from South East Asia where they are becoming extinct. Their meat is tasty and local Chinese people catch them in large numbers to sell them in markets, which explains why they are becoming rare so quickly. They are more aquatic creatures, but can adjust easily to an amphibian habitat. Juvenile Asian Box Turtles are very hardy, but they are the ones hunted the most for their soft tender flesh.

All turtles, regardless of their sub-species differences, have one thing in common – they are endowed with a personality like your pet cat or dog and many types of turtles are very smart.

Many types of turtles are facing the threat of being completely wiped out from the face of the earth. Among the highly endangered species lies the Olive Ridley Turtle found in Chilka Lake surroundings on the Orissa coast in eastern India.

Read: Basic Knowledge: All About Chameleons As Pets

Here is a small list of some other types of turtles that you may want to read about:

  • Loggerhead turtle
  • Leatherback turtle
  • Hawksbill turtle
  • Green turtle

These days turtles can be found everywhere. Populated or remote areas, in personal aquariums or you can find some really big and old turtles in any number of zoos. Hopefully, all about turtles information which we have already described here can eliminate your curiosity about the turtles.

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