- Turtles have been on the earth for more than 200 million years. They
evolved before mammals, birds, crocodiles, snakes, and even lizards.
- The earliest turtles had teeth and could not retract their heads,
but other than this, modern turtles are very similar to their original
- Several species of turtles can live to be over a hundred years of
age including the American Box Turtle.
- Turtles live on every continent except Antarctica.
- Turtles will live in almost any climate warm enough to allow them
to complete their breeding cycle.
- While most turtles do not tolerate the cold well, the Blanding's
turtle has been observed swimming under the ice in the Great Lakes region.
- Turtles range in size from the 4-inch Bog Turtle to the 1500-pound
- The top domed part of a turtle's shell is called the carapace and
the bottom underlying part is called the plastron.
- The shell of a turtle is made up of 60 different bones all connected
- The bony portion of the shell is covered with plates (scutes) that
are derivatives of skin and offer additional strength and protection.
- Most turtle species have five toes on each limb with a few exceptions
including the American Box Turtle of the carolina species that only
has four toes, and in some cases, only three.
- Turtles have good eyesight and an excellent sense of smell. Hearing
and sense of touch are both good and even the shell contains nerve endings.
- Turtles are one of the oldest and most primitive groups of reptiles
and have outlived many other species. One can only wonder if their unique
shell is responsible for their success.
- Some female turtles produce eggs four years after mating.
- Some turtles can live for more than a year without food.
- A female turtle laying eggs will dig several empty nests to throw
off predators trying to eat the eggs.
- When in the eggs, turtles take about 2 months to incubate and their
sex is determined by the temperature. Under 29 degrees they become male,
over 29 degrees they become female.
- Female turtles mate with several males in the ocean and store the
sperm inside them, so a single nest may hodl babies from various fathers.
- Weighing 250 - 400 pounds, adults can grow to more than three feet
- Hatchlings are two inches long.
- Nesting occurs from May through August. Hatching may extend through
- The nest cavity is 18 - 22 inches in depth.
- Incubation period of the eggs in their sandy nest is 55 - 65 days
- There are 150 different kinds of turtles and 7 of them are sea turtles
and they are all endangered species.
- The reason the turtles are endangered is because of hurricanes, high
winds, predators like sharks and humans