Turtles and Tortoises

301 species

Turtles are an order of reptiles known as Testudines, characterized by a shell developed mainly from their ribs. Modern turtles are divided into two major groups, the side-necked turtles and hidden neck turtles which differ in the way the head retracts. There are 360 living and recently extinct species of turtles, including land-dwelling tortoises and freshwater terrapins. They are found on most continents, some islands, and, in the case of sea turtles, much of the ocean. Like other reptiles, birds, and mammals, they breathe air and do not lay eggs underwater, although many species live in or around water. Turtle shells are made mostly of bone; the upper part is the domed carapace, while the underside is the flatter plastron or belly plate. Its outer surface is covered in scales made of keratin, the material of hair, horns, and claws. Turtles are \"cold-blooded\", meaning that their internal temperature varies with their direct environment. They mainly feed on plants and animals with limited movements. Many turtles migrate short distances seasonally. Sea turtles are the only reptiles that migrate long distances to lay their eggs on a favored beach. Turtles have appeared in myths and folktales around the world. Some terrestrial and freshwater species are widely kept as pets. Turtles have been hunted for their meat, for use in traditional medicine, and for their shells. Their habitats around the world are being destroyed and as a result, many species are threatened with extinction.
Turtles are an order of reptiles known as Testudines, characterized by a shell developed mainly from their ribs. Modern turtles are divided into two major groups, the side-necked turtles and hidden neck turtles which differ in the way the head retracts. There are 360 living and recently extinct species of turtles, including land-dwelling tortoises and freshwater terrapins. They are found on most continents, some islands, and, in the case of sea turtles, much of the ocean. Like other reptiles, birds, and mammals, they breathe air and do not lay eggs underwater, although many species live in or around water. Turtle shells are made mostly of bone; the upper part is the domed carapace, while the underside is the flatter plastron or belly plate. Its outer surface is covered in scales made of keratin, the material of hair, horns, and claws. Turtles are \"cold-blooded\", meaning that their internal temperature varies with their direct environment. They mainly feed on plants and animals with limited movements. Many turtles migrate short distances seasonally. Sea turtles are the only reptiles that migrate long distances to lay their eggs on a favored beach. Turtles have appeared in myths and folktales around the world. Some terrestrial and freshwater species are widely kept as pets. Turtles have been hunted for their meat, for use in traditional medicine, and for their shells. Their habitats around the world are being destroyed and as a result, many species are threatened with extinction.