The turtles have been living since the age of Dinosaurs. They have been existing since over 100 million years ago. Turtles have a unique shell which makes them look different from all the other sea and land reptiles. They appear to have a simple and sedentary life but in reality they are more than fascinating creatures.
To add to your knowledge, here are 21 facts about turtles.
1. Unable to leave shell
The shell acts as a rib-cage and skin for the turtle. It is impossible for the turtle to leave their shell as they can’t live without it. Their survival becomes unlikely if they leave the shell.
2. Shell has 60 bones
The shell of a turtle has three main parts which are a carapace that is a top shell, the plastron which is the lower shell and the bridge which joins the lower and upper shells. This inner shell has a total of 60 bones which have the backbones and ribs.
3. Long life for bigger turtles
Turtles are blessed with the longest lifespan among all the reptiles. The turtles that are kept as pets can live for 10 to 80 years, whereas the larger turtles live for 100’s of years. There are certain turtles that have survived for 150 years straight.
4. Island names after a turtle
In the year 1535 the Spanish sailors found an island which they named as “insulae de los Galopegps” that means “island of tortoises” , this came after huge turtles where found in the area. The term “Galapago” means tortoise in Spanish.
5. The biggest of all
The giant tortoise has the longest lifespan among all vertebrates. They survive for more than 100 years in the wild. In captivity they live a 170 year life span. These can weigh from 550 pounds or 249 kgs and grow as long as 5 feet or 60 inches in size.
6. Sans Teeth
Only the young ones have teeth for them to break off the eggs, and these teeth eventually disappear. But they do have pointed beaks like birds which enable them to break the food and flat jaws to grind their food.
7. Eat variety of food
The species are quite flexible when it comes to food; they eat anything that is available in the surroundings. The land turtles munch on snails, beetles, fruits, flowers, grasses and earthworms. Whereas the aquatic turtles are carnivorous and eat small fish and even carcasses of other animals at times.
8. Teardrop shaped body
The leather-back turtle popularly known as the lute turtle is the biggest of all. They are easily identified due to their soft carapace or top shell. There are 7 ridges in its shell with dark gray and white spots. Also they can swim really well due to their front flippers.
9. Great divers
Finding food in the ocean is possible for them as they can hold their breaths for a long time. They can dive as deep as 960 feet or 292 meters. Surprisingly a leatherback turtle can dive about 1000 meters or 3,280 feet. They have the capacity to stay underwater for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Well , they do come up to the surface every five minutes to breathe.
10. Sharks are their enemies
Right from birth the hatch-lings have to look out for raccoons, foxes, birds, coyotes, lizards, carnivorous fishes and fire ants. But their most common predators are the furious killer whales and sharks. The tiger sharks might as well take a bite of the turtle’s flippers and break their shells too. The sharks do these to get the protein content.
11. Can sleep underwater
Just like all animals turtles do need some rest too and dying the night time they do it underwater. At times they are floating on the surface while sleeping. If not sleeping in water they would look out for a safe place like a pile of leaves, a hole or mud.
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12. 45 days of egg incubation
They stay in the hot sand for a period of 45 to 70 days after which they break the egg with their egg tooth. After breaking the eggs they stay in the same nest for a while until they have the energy to enter the majestic ocean. They leave the nest during the night time as there are less predators.
13. Annual laying of eggs
They lay the eggs during the summer time. Both land and aquatic turtles make nests on the seashore. They make nests using their flippers during the night, lay about hundred eggs at a time and leave back to the water again.
14. Cold blooded creatures
The temperature of their body depends on the environment it is in. They are unable to produce their own body heat. So they take help from the sun or by staying in the water.
15. Erected and enlarged penis
Just like male humans, the penis of a turtle can erect and increase its size. In this process their penis has a capacity to increase in size by 50% and width by 75%. The organ is located on the base of their tails which could be purple, gray or black in colour.
16. Turtle soup – Chinese softshell
The Chinese softshell is found in China and they are raised in turtle farms. These turtles are raised to use them as a soul using their meat as the main material. Its a delicacy in Asian countries.
17. Total 350 species
There are so many kinds of turtles some popular ones are western painted turtles, African side necked turtle, loggerheads, red eared sliders and flatback turtles. These are located all across the world except Antarctica. The north america and south America have the highest number of species.
18. Turtles do cry
They don’t cry because they are sad or heartbroken but to get rid of the excess salt in their bodies. These years keel out sand from entering the eyes and stop dehydration during nesting period.
19. Turtle day
June 16th is celebrated as world sea turtle day. The turtles play a vital role in the eco system by cleaning the sea. Also they are a symbol of wisdom of trickery in many traditions.
20. Anti social
They just stay in a group till the nesting process once they leave the nest and swim into the magnificent sea they like to remain in solitude until they are ready to mate.
21. Attract tourism
The hatching of the eggs is quite an ovation to watch for the tourists. They like to see the sea turtles and along with them comes the economic development in many areas. It also leads a source of livelihood for many.
This shows are important the turtles are in the ecology as well as their hidden trials which makes them more of an attraction to us. The pollution and global warming are endangering the species and we need to take utmost care to protect them.
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