Turtles are reptiles. They belong to the order Testudines. They have been on earth for more than 200 million years. Similar to other reptiles, they are also cold-blooded. Turtles live on every continent except Antarctica. The leatherback sea turtle is the largest turtle. It can weigh more than 900 kg. They spend most of their time in the water as they are adapted to aquatic life. They have special glands that help them to remove salt from the water they drink. They have good eyesight and excellent sense of smell. Turtles lay eggs in the sand and sometimes leave them to hatch on their own.
Fast Facts: –
- They are not social creatures and do not socialize even if there are other turtles around them.
- They are omnivores and eat a variety of things. Their diet includes mollusks, plants, small fishes etc.
- Their bony, cartilaginous shell acts as a shield that protects them from predators.
- This shell is made up of more than 60 bones. It also includes the rib cage and the spine.
- The upper shell is known as carapace and the lower shell is known as plastron.
- The portion of their shell that has bones is covered with plates that are known as scutes. These plates are the different type of skin that offers additional strength and protection.
- They are usually active during the day and spend their time foraging for food.
- The earliest known turtle fossils date back to the Triassic period. These fossils are nearly identical to modern turtles.
- In 1968, the Soviet Union launched a space probe named Zond 5. A pair of tortoises was sent to space in this spacecraft.
- The oldest ever recorded turtle was Tu’i Malia. It lived for 188 long years.