Turtles are reptiles, this order is more than 220 million years old. Turtles can live in the sea and on land, in salt and fresh water.
The exact origin of turtles is unknown to science, but already 200 million years ago, their ancestors had a strong shell. The largest fossil turtle was over 4 meters long and weighed about 2 tons. The current individuals are more modest in size - they have a shell length of up to 2 meters, and a weight of up to 900 kg.
A feature of these animals is a small streamlined head, which the turtle can hide inside the shell in case of danger. A short tail also hides there. Turtles breed by laying eggs and burying them in the sand.
Although the turtle's brain is poorly developed, accounting for only 0.1% of body weight, the animal has color vision and good results in the field of intelligence. Turtles are one of the most beloved pets, children are drawn to them.
Proper care allows pets to live even in apartments for up to 40 years. So much can be said about turtles that the abundance of information has given rise to some myths about these animals.
The turtle is a slow animal. Everyone knows the saying "slow as a turtle". This applies to large land turtles, which are quickly impeded by their heavy shells. But it is no longer possible to say so about marine and freshwater animals. For example, in an aquatic environment, a turtle can reach speeds of up to 40 km / h.
Turtles swim great. Many people think that water is the natural environment for turtles. However, only marine species swim well, freshwater and only a few land ones. Other terrestrial and semi-aquatic types can even drown in water.
Turtles live a long time - over 100 years. Turtles are really considered to be long-livers of the animal world, however, only huge terrestrial species, for example, elephants, survive up to 100 years or more. If we talk about pets about 30 cm long, then they can only live up to 50 years and then only with good care and proper nutrition. Turtles 50-60 cm long can live up to 60-70 years. This makes it possible to conclude that the age of the turtle directly depends on the maximum size of its species. The most famous long-lived specimens have reached the level of 170-180 years.
Turtles have a hard shell. If the animal lacks calcium and gets sick with rickets, then the shell can become soft, pressing at the same time. This, in turn, can lead to the death of the turtle. There is also a kind of elastic turtles, whose shell is quite soft. This feature, oddly enough, helps protect against predators. After all, such turtles hide from enemies in the crevices of stones, "inflating" the shell there and hopelessly getting stuck for the predator.
Turtles are amphibians. Someone will find it strange the relationship of the tortoise with other amphibians, but this is a fact. Its relatives are indeed reptiles and reptiles such as the lizard, crocodile and snake.
The turtle can free itself from the shell at any time. This is possible only if the body of the animal itself falls out of the shell. But this would mean that the turtle is actually a semi-decomposed corpse. After all, its shell is essentially the fused bones of the ribs and spine. Its appearance, by the way, markedly changed the structure of internal organs. The muscles of the body atrophied, but the legs and neck became noticeably stronger.
The life of turtles is directly related to sand. There are a large number of species of turtles and each of them lives in its own environment - these are steppes and forests, ponds and lakes, rivers, seas and mountains. You cannot tie such a large detachment to just one environment.
Turtles are wise and intelligent animals. This statement comes from the fact that turtles live long. Accordingly, in human eyes, animals look wise, as their age helps to accumulate knowledge. But when tested, the turtles show fairly high results. So, they can learn to find a way out of the maze and a place to feed, excelling in testing snakes and lizards. The results of the next test are also interesting. The turtle moved along the rail behind a slowly moving feeder. Suddenly she disappeared behind the screen. The animal continued to move in the same direction, eventually discovering its food on the other side of the screen. The solution to such a problem turned out to be beyond the power of some birds, by default they are more intelligent. There have been cases when in deserts turtles after rains build pools for themselves, in which water can be stored for a long time. In North America, sly turtles have learned to lay eggs in alligator nests, where predators are much less likely to wield.
Turtles are easy to care for. Turtles are wild animals. They sometimes have territories several kilometers wide. Simply putting them in a box would be cruel. We wouldn't want to be in their shoes and spend the rest of our days in the bathroom. It is recommended to keep turtles in specially equipped terrariums. If the turtle is water, then you need to occupy 2/3 of the area with water. It will be better for the animal to build a house according to its size and maintain a constant warm temperature. In addition, certain requirements are put forward for nutrition. Turtles need to be fed a variety of plant foods, not cottage cheese or bread. The owner must remember that the animal should not be allowed to hibernate - this will lead to illness.
Turtles have excellent health. There is a myth that these animals don't even need a veterinarian. The fact is that turtles have a slow metabolism, and they do not show signs of illness until the illness has gone far. Signs and symptoms are easily recognizable: closed and puffy eyes, loss of appetite, staying in the same place, wet eyes and nose. If such signs appear in the pet, it is urgent to show it to the doctor.
Your best bet is to purchase a turtle from a pet store. This statement is rather dubious. It is clear that the store seems to many to be the most civilized place to shop. However, think about what you have to do to get the turtle there. 90% of them simply die on the way. It may be best to find your turtle at a shelter or with people you know.
Turtles sleep in the ground in their burrows. This is true for some species, such as box turtles. Some sleep in water, like red eared turtles. Each species has its own habits. The owner must remember that before hibernation, the turtles must be strong and healthy.
Sometimes turtles hiss like snakes, this indicates that they are crazy. Yes, sometimes you can hear hiss from turtles, but this is not really that. The fact is that when an animal is frightened, it begins to quickly retract its head. The air coming out makes that sound. So this phenomenon is completely natural and unintentional.
Turtles can eat anything. Often, some turtles, as carnivores, require live food - snails, worms, fish. Hamburgers, hot dogs and the food we are used to do not suit them at all, because it does not exist in the wild. In addition, some species of water turtles generally only feed underwater.
Turtles can live indoors and with artificial lighting. In fact, these animals simply need real sunlight. This enables them to grow normally and have strong bones. If animals do not see the sun, then a condition known as metabolic bone disease may develop. In this case, the bones will decay. So only in the sun the turtle can be truly happy.
Cute tiny turtles will always stay the same size. This misconception is one of the most widespread. As a result, many people who own pets quickly find that they are not very suitable already for their home. After all, small turtles are usually very young, growing up, they grow quickly.
To get rid of salmonella germs, rinse the turtle. Reptiles (lizards, snakes, turtles) are kept in 3% of families, while 90% of the animals are infected with salmonella. It is a mistake to think that simply washing your pet will solve the problem. No matter how clean it is on the outside, it can still carry dangerous bacteria. Therefore, it is important to always wash your hands after dealing with your turtle and its environment. Many also consider it generally dangerous to have this animal in homes with small children or where they are expected to appear.
Female and male turtles are outwardly indistinguishable. In aquatic turtles, males have a longer tail than females. In the case of land animals, males have better femoral spurs. Both have a recess on the plastron, with the help of which it is easier for males to maintain their position during mating. Some species differ between sexes and in terms of size. So, in a stellate turtle, males are smaller than females, but in a spurred turtle, the picture is the opposite. There are species in which males and females differ in the color of the iris of the eyes. So, the female Caroline box turtle has yellow eyes, and the males are red.
Turtles are color-blind. In fact, these animals have pretty good color vision. When they search for food, they are guided primarily by it, and not by taste and smell. It has been noted that terrestrial species are especially fond of red. That is why they are especially interested in vegetables and fruits of this color and even inedible things. Turtles also like green, and light shades.
Turtles do not guard their eggs. In general, this rule is true for almost all species. Almost all turtles, after laying eggs, lose all interest in them. But this rule also has its exceptions. For example, a brown turtle builds a separate nest for its eggs, where the expectant mother protects them until the very moment of offspring. The Bahamian decorated turtle also takes care of the offspring. She finds her clutch just before hatching, digging with her front paws and helping her offspring to get out. Some species are able to regulate their population. At high density, the female lays fewer eggs, and at low density, on the contrary, more.
Turtles are essentially loners. This is usually the case, these animals prefer a solitary lifestyle. Only during the mating season do they look for a community of their own kind. So, toadhead turtles are so lonely that they even react to their relatives aggressively and outside the mating season. But there are some species that gather in groups during the winter.