Turtles have been on this planet for over 200 million years.
However, in a relatively short time (since the rise of humans) they have become
threatened – 44% of known turtle species are officially considered critically
endangered or vulnerable to extinction.
A turtle’s armor shell is unique in the animal kingdom,
made of two parts (the back and front) it generally comprises around 50-60
Most adult turtles and tortoises have a shell length of at
least 13cm (5in). The world’s smallest species are the Speckled cape tortoise,
Flattened musk turtle, and Bog turtle, whereas the largest living turtle is the
Leatherback seaturtle, whose shell reaches up to 244cm (96in).
Although turtles are slow on land, due to their massive
shells, when they enter the water they can reach speeds of over 30km/hour
Some species of turtles migrate over 4,500km (that’s 2,800
miles) to make their nests – which is like travelling the length of the United Kingdom 4.5
times. Whereas others have nesting frenzies, when over 200,000 females nest on
the same small beach over two days.
Some aquatic species of turtles don’t just breathe using
their lungs – some can also respire through their skin, the lining of the
throat, and through thin-walled sacs, or bursae, in the cloaca.
Images: 1) Squirtle, by mem0. CC-BY-2.0 via Flickr. 2) Turtle, by Hiroaki Home. Public domain via Pixabay.
It’s World Turtle Day! From a tiny baby bog turtle to a massive leatherback, turtles come in many shapes and sizes. Found gliding through the open ocean or slowly trudging over desert plains, they are fascinating creatures. Because of environmental threats, several species are endangered and need our help. Video of a baby turtle running for the surf by Dry Tortugas National Park.