Turtles are reptiles that have shells that are usually fused bony plates and covered by large, horny scales. Turtles are found on all continents except for Antarctica. Some extinct turtles had teeth, but all living turtles are toothless.
The turtles upper shell, or carapace, is most commonly made up of about 50 bones. The lower shell, or plastron, typically contains nine bones. Turtles are omnivores, meaning they eat plants and animals.
Turtles live for a long time. Box turtles and painted turtles are estimated to live for about 30 to 50 years in the wild. Some people eat turtle eggs and turtle meat. Some species of turtle have become endangered because people collect their eggs and dont leave enough for the species to survive.
The loggerhead turtle is
protected from the venom of the Portuguese man-o-war, which
enables it to eat the man-o-war.
Tortoises are closely related to turtles, except tortoises live only on land. Tortoises are often called "land turtles". They are found in most areas of the world except Australia, Polynesia, and Antarctica. The largest and best-known species, some reaching 230-kg (500 lb.), are found on the Galapagos Islands, which are near Ecuador in South America.
Tortoises eat plants and some live to be over 100 years old! The desert tortoise lives in parts of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Mexico. The Texas tortoise ranges from San Antonio into Mexico. The gopher tortoise lives in the Southeastern States.
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This page lasted edited on 03/31/98