The turtles we see today are not much different from their ancestors of 200 million years ago. They roamed the earth long before lizards, snakes, crocodiles, birds and mammals. The early turtles didn’t possess the ability to pull their heads into their shells and they had teeth. Other than those two things, the modern turtle is surprising similar to the turtles that roamed the seas and the earth from the past.
They Have Long Life Spans
The American Box Turtle among a few other species have a very long lifespan. Some can live to be more than 100 years old. Some interesting facts about turtles involve an Indian Ocean Giant Tortoise said to be captured when he was an adult. They estimated his age to be approximately 50 years at the time of his capture. He went on to live in captivity for an amazing 152 years more.
Size Doesn’t Matter
Other interesting facts about turtles concern their size. The Bog Turtle is a mere 4 inches while the Leatherback can grow to more than 8 feet from its carapace. The carapace is the domed part of the shell of a turtle. The underneath of the turtle is referred to as the plastron. A turtle’s shell is comprised of approximately 60 bones that connect together. To give the turtle’s shell additional protection, it is covered with scutes or plates that are made of skin derivatives.
Where They Can Be Found
More interesting facts about turtles are that they can be found on just about every continent of the world. The only place you won’t find turtles is on the continent of Antarctica. There are a wide variety of turtles that make North America their home, but the Europeans have just 2 species of turtles and a total of 3 species of tortoises. You can find turtles living in all types of climates as long as it is warm enough so that they may complete their cycle of breeding.
Their Shells Are Their Homes
Tortoises that live on land have shells that are domed. This gives them plenty of protection from the jaws of predators. Turtles that make their home even part time in the water often have shells that are aerodynamically designed with a flatter appearance. Typically turtles have 5 toes on each of their legs. The American Box Turtle has just 4 toes and sometimes just 3.
The Five Senses
Turtles can boast eyesight and a sense of smell that is excellent. It only stands to reason that their sense of taste is good as well. Pet turtles are known to prefer certain foods, so one can deduce that their taste buds are in pretty good shape. Their sense of hearing and touch are good too and their shell even has nerve endings.
Sea turtles are able to absorb necessary oxygen through the skin of their cloacal and neck areas which in turn allows them to stay beneath the surface of the water for long periods of time. They can also hibernate under the water because of this ability.
Turtles are fascinating creatures and there are many more interesting facts about turtles that can be learned. Remember, they were here long before us and if we are not careful, we may lose many species to extinction because of human acts.