World Turtle Day 2023: A look at different types of turtles

World Turtle Day 2023: A look at different types of turtles

Turtles are distinct creatures. Often, people get confused between a turtle and a tortoise

Neha SinghUpdated: Sunday, May 21, 2023, 03:37 PM IST
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Turtles are distinct creatures. Often, people get confused between a turtle and a tortoise. The habitat of a turtle is in the water, while a tortoise dwells on land. They predate snakes and crocodiles and are among the world’s earliest reptiles. According to scientific data, there are over 350 different species of turtles. There are about 6.5 million turtles on Earth right now.
Every year on May 23, World Turtle Day is observed to honour these resilient animals. Let’s commemorate the occasion by highlighting seven different types of turtles from all over the world.

Common Box Turtle

A common box turtle has a strong upper shell with hinges, which is typical of box turtles. They have a downward-pointing, bent beak. They can grow as long as eight inches. The shell of a typical box turtle may be brown with contrasting spots of yellow or orange. These turtles can survive in arid conditions, but they thrive in damp, forested areas. Their lifespan can occasionally exceed a remarkable 100 years. You can locate them as far north as Maine and as far south as Texas if the conditions are good.

Loggerhead Turtle

These turtles derive their name from having a huge, log-like head. These turtles, unlike leatherbacks, are known to have rather powerful jaws and lack ridges on their carapace. Instead, they have broad, non-overlapping scales called scutes. These turtles have a reddish-brown carapace with a yellowish-brown plastron and a bony, heart-shaped carapace. The Loggerhead sea turtle can reach a maximum length of 3.5 feet and a weight range of 70 to 170 kilos. Their primary habitats are the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

Alligator Snapping Turtle

The alligator snapping turtle is one of the largest freshwater turtles. The ridges on its shell resemble the rough, ridged skin of an alligator, and the fact that this turtle has strong jaws gives it this name. The highest population of alligator snapping turtles are found in the southeastern waters of the United States. The southeast corner of Kansas, Missouri, western Illinois, southern Indiana, western Kentucky, western Tennessee,  and the southeast corner of Kansas are all the places where they can
be found.

Red-Eared Slider

If you are looking for a pet turtle, the red-eared slider is the most common species. Compared to most of their relatives, they are friendlier and easier to connect with. Although you may still raise red-eared sliders outdoors, they are among the turtles that remain small forever and are best suited for indoor aquariums. However, you must make sure that you provide them with the proper shelter, which is clean and has warm temperatures. One of the most well-known turtle species in the US and the rest of the globe is this semi aquatic turtle. Although the typical size of red-eared sliders is about eight inches, they can reach a maximum length of
16 inches.

Leatherback Turtle

The largest aquatic turtle is the leatherback. This turtle can grow to a length of 6 feet. It can swim down to a depth of more than 3000 feet and travel the farthest. The weight of an adult leatherback turtle ranges from 300 to 640 kg. This turtle’s appearance is what sets it apart from other turtle species. Additionally, it is the only turtle in the ocean without a hard shell. They can be found from Alaska to South Africa.

Mississippi Map Turtle

Mississippi map turtles have a characteristic dorsal fin running down their shell, and this is why they’re also frequently called the Sawback. They are a good option for people who are limited by space and want turtles as pets. They can still survive for 30 years, but that is a little less than the usual lifespan. The delta of the Mississippi River is home to the map turtles that bear its name. Their native range is located in the Midwest, specifically in Illinois and Iowa, and it stretches south into Mississippi and Texas.

Hawksbill Turtle

Photo: USFWS (CC BY 2.0)

Another turtle that belongs to the sea turtle family is the hawksbill. This turtle gets its name from its head and hawk-like pointed beak, and it has a stunning shell that draws eyes. They have two sets of scales on their heads. Their bright yellow, orange, or brown carapaces will help you identify them. These turtles are only between 2.5 and 3 feet long. They range in weight from 46 to 70 kilograms. Hawksbills live in rough seas. Their habitat is in rocky places, coast reefs, and lagoons because they eat species that live on the rocks. As a result, you can find these turtles in any tropical body of water, including the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.

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