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Saturday, May 23, 2020

Turtle Day

May 23 is the day to celebrate turtles and tortoises. Created only 30 years ago by the American Tortoise Rescue the World Turtle Day recognizes all turtles and tortoises and helps draw awareness to their possibility of extinction due to hazards in their environment as well as the danger from those hunting and harvesting not only the hard or soft backed creatures but their eggs as well. A couple of animal activist that had a heart for tortoises created the special day acknowledging tortoises everywhere. 

One thing many are not aware of is that turtles and tortoises are not the same creatures. While both are reptiles their are a few differences including their habitat, shells, and how long they live. 

  • turtles often live in water part of the time and tortoises live on the land.
  • The shell of a turtle often have flat style shells but the shell of tortoises often will have larger more domed shells. 
  • Tortoises live many more years than turtles. An age span of up to over 300 years for the tortoise (however many will only live to 150 years) the turtle may only live to an average age of 40 years.

Here are a few more trivia facts that you may or may not be aware of
  • Turtles are a member of the reptile group that dates back to the time of the dinosaur. This means that turtles are older than snakes, crocodiles and alligators
  • A turtles shell is part of its skeleton. Made up of around 50 bones the shell is made to be part of the turtle's rib cage and spine. The shell grows as the turtle ages similar to a humans skeleton. Because of this turtles never come out of the shells or outgrow them. 
  • Turtles are cold blooded thus offering them a long life span. The turtle metabolism is very slow and survives without food and water for a long time. 
With over 300 species of turtles in the entire world around 129 of the species endangered. Turtles and tortoises are poached by humans creating an illegal pet trade. The natural habitat with constant human interruptions also is putting the creatures in harm. In addition turtles are slaughtered for their meat, skin, and shells. 

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