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Turtle Facts

Reptile animal that lives in a shell

  • Turtle is a reptile belonging to the order Testudines.
  • A group of turtles is classically called a bale.
  • Earliest known turtles date from 215 million years ago.
  • They are the oldest reptile groups and a more ancient group than lizards, snakes and crocodiles.
  • There are approximately 300 species of turtles.
  • They are cold-blooded.
  • They generally cannot come completely out of their shells. Their shells are built into their skeleton.
  • Leatherback sea turtles have higher body temperature than surrounding water because of their high metabolic rate.
  • Leatherback sea turtle is the largest living chelonian with a shell length of 200 centimetres and weight of 900 kgs.
  • Large sized turtles are aquatic.
  • The smallest turtle is the speckled padloper tortoise of South Africa which is 8 cms in length and 140 gms.
  • Turtles live on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Some female turtles produce eggs four years after mating.
  • Eggs are laid only on the land. Even sea turtles comes to land to lay eggs.
  • Eggs hatch in about 60 days.
  • The incubation temperature of the eggs determines the sex of the hatchlings in many species.
  • Eggs incubated in cool temparatures yield male turles while those near about 80 degrees will yield female.
  • They have good eyesight and an excellent sense of smell.
  • Turtle soup has been a prized dish in Anglo-American cuisine.
  • Turtle farms are common in the island of Grand Cayman where turtles are reared for their meat.
  • Harvesting wild turtles is legal in a number of states in the USA.
  • 47% of the US turtle exports go to China and Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mexico.
  • Common disease for the turtles is the Metabolic Bone Disease which is caused becuase of improper diet.
  • May 23 is observed as World Turtle Day.
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