Turtles are different from tortoises since they spend most of all of their lives in water. There are freshwater and marine turtles. Here are some more interesting facts about turtles:
Turtles go back to the late Jurassic period. There were a variety of sea turtles that lived in very ancient times. Sea turtles became differentiated from land tortoises around 100-110 million years ago.
Turtles can range in size from very small to very, very large. Some Musk turtles will never get any bigger than 3-4 inches long. Leatherback turtles can weigh between 550 and 2000 lbs and grow up to six feet long. They are some of the biggest turtles in the world.
Turtles cannot survive without their shells. The shell is called a carapace and the underside of a turtle shell is a plastron. On most turtles, the top part of the shell is very hard and the underside is paler, softer and thinner. One exception to this is with the leatherback sea turtle which has a rubbery textured carapace.
There are mostly carnivorous turtles and mostly herbivore turtles. Most turtles might technically be considered omnivores since the meat-eaters might eat seaweed as hatchlings or if they need to as adults. The herbivores may eat small shore crabs as babies but will later go on to eat mostly sea grass. All in all, they are divided into groups that eat mostly animal diets and mostly plant diets, with the majority of sea turtles being in the animal diet category.
Pretty much all sea turtles are born in nests on the beaches or other shoreline areas. They all hatch from eggs that are laid by the mother after she mates with the male in the water. When hatchlings are born they migrate to sea. Sea turtles spent greatly varying time in open sea depending on the type. In most sea turtle species the males stay in the water for the rest of their lives and the females go back to land to lay eggs. The cycle continues this way again and again as long as other threats do not cause that group of turtles to die out.
There are a total of 7 species of sea turtles. Sadly, 6 out of 7 are classified as threatened, endangered, or critically endangered according to IUCN. The 7th species being the Flatback is considered to be data deficient, meaning there is not enough data to determine the conservation status on the species.
All turtles are in fact part of the oldest groups of reptiles, and are not amphibians despite some similarities.
Some believe turtles are blind, but turtles can actually see in color. This may be believed because turtles can see better in water than they do on land. Turtles even see an extra color that's invisible to the human eye. This color has been impossible for us to imagine, and for this reason very difficult to explain.
Turtles can't control their own body temperature. This is because all turtles are cold-blooded.
A group of turtles can have many names. A few of the common names used are bale, nest, and turn.
The Leatherback is the largest species of sea turtle and can weigh up to 2,000 Lbs.
The Galapagos Tortoise is the largest species of tortoise, going based off their average size.
The smallest sea turtle compared to the Leatherback is a mere spec, weighing a total of 100 lbs as an adult, is the Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle. The smallest sea turtle is also considered the most endangered.
The smallest tortoise is the Speckled Padloper Tortoise. These tortoises will reach up to 6 oz. and a male will usually grow up to 3 inches in length
There are many cultures which see turtles as a symbol of patience and wisdom. Some cultures go as far as to make jewelry from the shells of sea turtles to sell to tourist.