Kinds of Turtles

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Turtles, members of the reptile family have been around for a very long time. It is believed that these creatures have been on the earth even longer than the snakes and lizards. There are over 300 different kinds of turtles, living on the land as well as in the water. Many of these species are extinct and others have made it to the list of endangered species. In this article, we shall discuss the different types of turtles found in different parts of the world.

Different Types of Turtles

Turtles are cold blooded animals belonging to the class of reptiles and have a shell that covers their back and belly. They come in different sizes, ranging from miniatures, which are just a few inches in size to giants, measuring several feet from head to tail. Turtles are generally divided into two main categories, tortoises, which are land turtles and marine turtles, which spend most of their time in water. Take a look at the different kinds of turtles.

Sea Turtles
These are truly marine creatures that spend most of their lives in water. The size of these turtles ranges from 2 feet to about 7 feet. They have an oval or heart shaped shell covering their back and belly. The limbs are transformed into flippers for ease of swimming in the water and do not support them when on land. These turtles mostly wander in the waters of the tropical oceans. Only the females come ashore when its time for them to lay eggs. An interesting feature of sea turtles is that they cannot put their heads back into the shell unlike most other kinds of turtles. Unfortunately, sea turtles are one of the most endangered species of the turtle family. Here is a list of kinds of turtles belonging to this type.

  • Caretta caretta – Loggerhead
  • Eretmochelys imbricata – Atlantic Hawsbill
  • Chelonia mydas – Green Sea turtle
  • Lepidochelys kempii – Atlantic Ridley
  • Lepidochelys olivacea – Pacific Ridley

Snapping Turtles
These turtles are generally found throughout North America, South America and in the southeastern regions of Asia. Turtles belonging to this type are characterized by long heads, a strong jaw, with the upper jaw being hooked and fairly long tails. Snapping turtles find it difficult to retract their head and limbs fully into the shell. There are only two species included in this family of turtles and they are as follows:

  • Chelydra serpentina – Common Snapping Turtle
  • Macrochelys temminckii – Alligator Snapping Turtle

Softshell Turtles
Soft Shell turtles are characterized by a flattened body and leathery, soft shells. These turtles can be found in fresh water as well as salty waters, however, most of them dwell in fresh water bodies. Their carapace is leather like and pliable and lacks horny scutes or scales. These turtles can be omnivorous, but most of them are found feeding on insects, mollusks, amphibians and small fish. Some of the species belonging to this family are as follows:

  • Apalone ferox – Florida Softshell Turtle
  • Apalone mutica – Midland Smooth Softshell Turtle
  • Apalone spinifera – Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle

Pond Turtles
Pond turtles are found all over the world and this is the largest group of turtles. This group contains herbivorous turtles as well as carnivorous. Most of the species of pond turtles are popular pets. Some of the common species belonging to this family are as follows:

  • Actinemys marmorata – Northwestern Pond Turtle
  • Chrysemys picta – Southern Painted Turtle
  • Clemmys guttata – Spotted Turtle
  • Trachemys scripta – Red Eared Slider Turtle
  • Terrapene carolina – Florida Box Turtle

Mud Turtles
The unique characteristic of mud turtles is their ability to emit unpleasant odor when disturbed. Mud turtles are strictly carnivorous and feed on insects, small fish, amphibians and even crustaceans. Take a look at some species of mud turtles.

  • Kinosternon arizonense – Arizona Mud Turtle
  • Kinosternon baurii – Striped Mud Turtle
  • Kinosternon sonoriense – Sonora Mud Turtle

This is the largest group of turtles that live on land. Tortoises have heavy scales on their carapace and their feet are not webbed. They generally feed on grasses, flowers and fruits. Some species of tortoises are:

  • Gopherus agassizii – Desert Tortoise
  • Gopherus berlianderi – Texas Tortoise
  • Gopherus poliphemus – Gopher Tortoise

These were the different kinds of turtles. Most of the larger varieties of turtles have no real predators, however, the smaller ones do have. Hope you liked this information on turtles.

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