TORTOISE & TERRAPIN

TORTOISE & TERRAPIN

All turtles, tortoises, and terrapins are reptiles. Scientists often refer to them as chelonians, because they are in the taxonomic order called Chelonia (from the Greek word for tortoise). They all have scales, lay eggs, and are ectothermic; they vary in size from fitting in your hand to about 1,800 pounds (817 kilograms). Chelonians live everywhere from deserts to oceans to backyard creeks.

Tortoise: A land-dweller that eats low-growing shrubs, grasses, and even cactus. Tortoises do not have webbed feet; their feet are round and stumpy for walking on land. Tortoises that live in hot, dry habitats use their strong forelimbs to dig burrows. Then, when it’s too hot in the sun, they slip underground.

Terrapin: Spends its time both on land and in water, but it always lives near water, along rivers, ponds, and lakes. Terrapins are often found in brackish, swampy areas. The word “terrapin” comes from an Algonquian word for turtle.

AFRICAN SPURRED TORTOISE

The African spurred tortoise (Geochelone sulcata), is a species of tortoise which inhabits the southern edge of the Sahara desert. It is the third largest species of tortoise in the world and the largest species of mainland tortoise.

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ALDABRA GIANT TORTOISE

The Aldabra giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea), from the islands of the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles, is one of the largest tortoises in the world.

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GREEK TORTOISE

The Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca), is one of five species of Mediterranean tortoise. Mediterranean tortoise habitat is North Africa, southern Europe and southwest Asia.

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HERMANN’S TORTOISE

Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni) is one of five tortoise species traditionally placed in the genus Testudo. Testudo hermanni can be found throughout southern Europe.

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MARGINATED TORTOISE

The Marginated tortoise (Testudo marginata) is a species of tortoise found in Greece, Italy and the Balkans in southern Europe. It is the largest European tortoise.

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POND SLIDER

The pond slider (Trachemys scripta) is a species of common, medium-sized, semiaquatic turtle. The origin of the name slider stems from the behavior of these turtles when startled.

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