Many people believe that turtles are only slow animals, which in fact have been used to compare with someone who is not very active.
Although It is not false that they are slow, what is completely true is that they are much more than that. Them are simply amazing and extraordinary animals, also it is the oldest that nowadays live on Earth.Although popularly we know them simply as turtles, their scientific name is Testudines and if you do not know they belong to the class of reptiles. There are terrestrial turtles and sea turtles and both are spectacular, coupled with unique features and a wonderful variety.
Origin of turtles
The turtles are reptiles, which are considered the oldest that inhabit the planet Earth. They have evolved differently, so land turtles and sea turtles can be found.
It Is said that because they are so old they are direct relatives of the dinosaurs, and that their shells have emerged mainly as the ossification of dermal plaques that were fused with the organs, in order to protect themselves.
Sea turtles have evolved with fins and shells suitable for swimming through different ocean currents.In the same way their beaks have become finer to be able to reach the food in the reefs and crevices under the sea.
Physical Characteristics of turtles
Turtles may be of different sizes, but they all share similar characteristics, such as those named below:
The Carapace, also known as the back or dorsal of the tortoises, is wide, hard and resistant. In the case of the Leatherback turtle has a flexible shell, while the pig nose turtle has a soft shell, giving the feeling that this has lost its back.In the case of land turtles this is usually in the form of a dome, while in the sea turtles are usually not as high, but rather a little chatty.The Shield has been formed by the ossification of layers of skin and serves as a shelter and gives protection to these reptiles against their potential predators. There Are Both shells and types of turtles, to the lower part of this is known as Plastron.
They are Usually of various colors, and their structure is formed by a series of characteristic shields, which are usually of keratin cornea, and indicate the growth of the tortoises. Terrestrial tortoises are characterized by sunbathing, they do this in order to take advantage of vitamin D from the Astro King and thus strengthen their shells.
The turtles have 4 legs, 2 rear and 2 front; In the case of sea turtles are evolved and rather have become fins, which use to swim.
The Skin of the turtles is rather coarse and rough, sometimes it can be compared with a leather.
It Is covered by a corneal layer of keratin that resembles scales.
The colors of the turtles are varied, and are usually in accordance with the environment around them.
Among the colors of the terrestrial tortoises predominate the brown tones, dark greens and ochres.
On the other hand the brown turtles have green, olive, brown and yellow colors.
Turtles are of different sizes, for example terrestrials can measure 10 centimeters while the larger marinas reach more than 1 metre and a half.
How Long do turtles live?
These are very long-lived animals that can come to live even more than 100 years. There are official records of a tortoise that lived 150 years.
How Do they feed?
Feeding of land turtles
The majority of the terrestrial turtles are herbivorous, however there are also omnivorous species. But usually these tend to eat fruits, vegetables, leaves, lettuces, cabbages and there is a case of ingestion of small insects and beetles.
There Are terrestrial tortoises that inhabit desert regions, they have adapted to the environment and can spend long periods of time without feeding.
Feeding of aquatic turtles
In this case they are carnivorous turtles that feed on small fish, barnacles, algae, corals and sea sponges, which by the way is the favorite menu of the hawksbill turtles.
Turtles are animals that adapt very well to the climatic conditions of their environments, this is one of the reasons why they are the oldest animal on Earth.
Terrestrial turtles can inhabit forests, jungles, islands and even there are specimens that can live in the deserts.
Its anatomy will adapt to the environment and will be conditioned to obtain food.
For example, the Galapagos tortoise (larger tortoise) has a long neck for Bush food.
As for sea turtles, they prefer to swim in deep seas and emigrate through the sea currents.
They can be found in almost all the oceans of the world, either the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian and the Mediterranean Sea.
Mainly They are quiet reptiles, however their behavior varies according to their environment and their species.
The terrestrial turtles have a calm behavior, which is often sedentary.
Although There are species that like to be on the move and explore around them.
It Is very common to see the terrestrial turtles taking sun baths, because it is the way they have to strengthen their shell.
On the other hand, they like to romp a little in a pond of water level, as they take advantage to cool.
The behavior of sea turtles is fascinating, for example the males once they enter the sea are never seen on the surface again.
On the other hand the females only come out to lay their eggs.
They Swim in groups through the different streams, are characterized by long migratory trips.
How Turtles are reproduced
The turtles are oviparous, that is to say that they are born through eggs, and they are reproduced in the following way:
Females reach their sexual maturity between 9 and 15 years of age, which is when they are ready to mate and reproduce.
The breeding season occurs between the spring and summer seasons, when some species of sea turtles do not find males to copulate these are able to lay eggs that are obviously not fertilized.
They Reach their sexual maturity between 9 and 20 years, even make large migratory trips only to mate and lay their eggs.
The females come to the shore of the beach in which they leave their eggs and then return to the sea.
The eggs Are not re-visited by the mother.
Dangers of Extinction
Unfortunately, many species of both terrestrial and marine turtles are in critical danger of extinction.
The reasons are several, but they are generally related to the modifications that the man’s hand has received from his surroundings.
On the other hand the extraction of these reptiles in an illegal way to be marketed also poses a threat to their reproduction.
In The case of sea turtles, when eggs are left on the shores, they are left at the mercy of different predators, indicating that they will not all survive.
The Accidental fishing of sea turtles, is also a reason that threatens the life of these amazing animals.