Facts about turtles

Facts about turtles
  1. Lunar orbit: Turtles were orbiting the moon before the first astronauts were. Two Russian turtles left Earth in September 1968, while the first successful manned lunar mission left Earth in December 1968. The first animals in space were fruit flies, launched in the 1940s by the US
  2. Existence: Turtles have existed on Earth for more than 200 million years. They predate mammals, birds, crocodiles, snakes and others. The oldest turtle fossil (Odontochylys semitstacea) is 220 million years old
  3. Evolution: The first turtles had teeth and couldn’t pull their heads into their shells – but other than that, today’s turtles are very similar to those of the past
  4. Oxygen: Some turtles can absorb oxygen through the skin on their necks. They also have structures in their bodies that enable them to store oxygen, which they use to prolong their stay underwater and even hibernate here
  5. Distribution: Turtles live on all continents except Antarctica (South Pole)
  6. Climate: Turtles can live in almost any climate that is warm enough for them to complete their breeding cycle
  7. Cold: Although turtles are not suited to living in the cold, turtles have been observed swimming under the ice in lakes
  8. Sounds: Although turtles don’t have vocal cords, they can produce sounds by pushing air out of their lungs. Some species can make sounds similar to chicken clucks, dog sounds and even human burps
  9. Hearing: Turtles have no ears but can still pick up certain sounds. However, they can’t hear as well as humans, for example
  10. Eats human: In the city of Varanashi, India, 25,000 turtles are released every year to help clean the water in the Ganges River. The turtles’ primary task is to eat the many human and animal corpses that are sent into the river every year. In Varanashi alone, at least 100 people are sent into the river every day as part of a death ritual
Fact: Turtles are some of the longest-lived animals on Earth
Attribution: David Morgan-Mar + Smokeybjb – Wikipedia.org

Fact: Turtles have been on Earth for more than 200 million years, much longer than most other animals alive today. Here you can see the extinct turtle species Meiolania platyceps


More facts about turtles

  • Age: There are several turtle species that can live to be more than 100 years old
  • Oldest turtle: One of the oldest recorded turtles was a giant tortoise (a sea turtle), estimated to be around 50 years old when it was captured. It then lived another 152 years in captivity
  • Size: The size of turtles can vary greatly; the smallest are around 10 cm long, while the largest (Sea Leatherback Turtles – Dermochelys coriacea) can grow to over 3 meters long and weigh up to 916 kg
  • Shield: The turtle shell consists of 50-60 bones that are all connected. Evolutionarily, turtles’ shells are a further development of their ribs and spine
  • Land and sea turtles: Most land turtles have very domed shells, whereas sea turtles typically have more streamlined shells. One exception is the pancake turtle (Malacochersus tornieri) from East Africa, which seeks out narrow cracks in rocks or stones when threatened. Here it inflates itself with air, making it almost impossible to pull out
  • Senses: Turtles generally have good eyesight and a very well-developed sense of smell. They also have excellent hearing and touch, and even their shells contain nerve endings
  • Lean: Male tortoises find potential mates using their sense of smell. For humans, it can be difficult to tell the difference between males and females, as turtles’ genitals are hidden under the shell
  • Alligator snapping turtles: The alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) has a powerful beak and bear-like claws, and feeds primarily on small marine animals such as fish, frogs, snakes, clams and worms (although it also eats some aquatic plants). It uses its tongue – very similar to a worm – to lure its prey directly into its deadly jaws
  • Missing diaphragm: The vast majority of air-breathing vertebrates draw air in and out of their lungs using the diaphragm – a muscle that contracts and relaxes with each breath. However, turtles breathe without a diaphragm
Fact: Alligator snapping turtles use their tongues as bait
Attribution: LA Dawson – Wikimedia.org

Fact: The alligator snapping turtle uses its tongue – which resembles a worm – to lure prey into its mouth