Some basic info about turtles. Quiet, calm, and slow-moving animals.
Turtles are reptiles belonging to the order of Testudines. Together with lizards, tuatara, snakes and crocodilians, they form the class of reptiles.
Turtle body is shielded by a special bony shield developed from their ribs. Turtle can not walk out of its shell, because the shell is fused with the ribs of the animal. It even has nerve endings in the shell. Instead of teeth, they have horny beaks. The beak is adapted for its primary diet. Sharp hooked beaks are designed to grasp and slice animal prey. Vegetarian turtles on the other side have beaks with flat, broad crushing surfaces.
First appearing about 200 million years ago, turtles are supposed to be the oldest living group of reptiles. They are air-breathing, cold-blooded, eggs laying animals with scaly skin. Even though many turtle species live in or around water, turtles do not lay eggs underwater.
Sea and Land Animals
We know two major groups: sea turtles and fresh water turtles. Sea turtles live in the oceans and are much larger in size then fresh water turtles . Even though aquatic turtles spend large amounts of their lives underwater, they are air-breathing reptiles, and must surface at regular intervals to refill their lungs with fresh air. Sea turtles spend part of their lives on dry land, where they lay their eggs on dry sandy beaches. They are highly endangered largely as a result of beach development and over hunting. Fresh water turtles which spend most of their life on the land are called tortoises.
The size of turtles can vary from a few centimetres to up to two meters and they can reach a weight of over 900 kilograms or 2,000 lb. Having evolved and survived way before mankind, turtles are specialized and highly adapted to their habitats. Turtles generally live a long time; some individuals are even known to have lived longer than 150 years.