Types of Turtles

Published on: Feb 19 2011 by Shenron

Turtles are old-blooded reptiles that belong to the family of the order Testudines. Turtles are described by their particular osseous or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield. Like a cat or dog, people often keep turtles as a pet. These are indoor pets which usually remain inside the house all the time.

There are over 270 known species of turtles from which the most famous and the most popular species are the sea turtles and box turtles. There are many other types which are characterized by their features. For instance, painted turtle is more a living work of art than a turtle. Some of the commonly known types of the turtles are given below.

Sea Turtles

An interesting fact about sea turtles is that they reach maturity at the age of 50. This is certainly an astonishing fact about them as if they reach maturity at this age then how long will be an average sea turtle live under suitable conditions. Sea turtles as their name suggests are well-conformed to the ocean. They possess very good eyesight under the water; however, the eyesight is compromised on land.

There are varieties of sea turtles which move to the sea shore for laying eggs. On the land, the only danger to this creature is from humans, while under water they are hunted by sharks and killer whales. The young sea turtles become the diet of crabs, dogs, raccoons, seabirds and fish. The large number baby sea turtles after hatching hardly reach the water as they fall prey of several different predators.

Box Turtles

They possess a hinged, domed shell which serves the purpose of protecting themselves from the predators. Whenever they feel any danger, they close the shell. It is very easy to differentiate between male box turtle and female box turtle. The male box turtle are usually larger than female box turtle. Another way to distinguish between them is their eye color, i.e. a male box turtle has red irises whereas a female has a yellowish-brown irises.

Painted Turtles

The painted turtles get their name from exotic under shell and streaked or marked head and legs. These features make these turtles look attractive. It is distinguished from its relative, the red-eared turtle by means of yellow and red lines. However, despite of these minor differences they both are similar in their looks. A painted turtle can grow up to 10 inches at their maturity and known as a pond turtle. Feeder fish is their favorite diet and they also require protein which is provided through vegetables. An average life span of pet painted turtle is 30 years.

Red-Eared Sliders

They are the member of the family Emydidae. Red-Eared Sliders are very common in Southern United States. It is known as the freshwater tortoise which means that it is semi-aquatic by nature. Red Eared Sliders are popular pet turtles. These turtles feed on both meat and vegetables.

An interesting fact about these turtles is that they don’t eat anything when the temperature is less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. So, you have to feed them during the day when the temperature is between 50-68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Snapping Turtles

A snapping turtle is a turtle that can grow to the length of 2 feet and gain an average weight of 80 pounds at the time of maturity. These turtles are aggressive and grow very fast. You will find this turtle busy when kept in a pond or tank arranging anew the plants and rocks regularly. Snapping turtles are not recommended as a pet because these are aggressive and can harm the humans. Though, snapping turtles are hunted wild for making a turtle soup.

Soft-Shelled Turtles

Soft-shelled turtles have a soft shell. They are timid in the presence of the humans while attacking with their own kind. Due to their aggressive nature against each other, they cannot be kept in a single pond or tank as they can harm each other. Their feet are webbed with three toes.

Chicken Turtle

The chicken turtle (Deirochelys reticularia) is known to be a terrapin, i.e. a freshwater tortoise. It is a rare variety which can be seen in the southeast of the United States. They possess an exceptionally long, marked neck. Their forelegs and rear legs have yellowish markings.

It has a pear-shaped shell or carapace which olive or dark brown in color. Chicken turtle usually spend a life of twenty to twenty four years.

Map Turtle or Saw Back Turtle

Map Turtle or Saw Back Turtle or the Graptemy is an aquatic turtle which usually found in freshwater. You can come across these turtles all over the Eastern United States and Southern Canada. The yellowish or cream colored strips on their head, neck and legs appear like a road map and hence they are called map turtles.


Trachemys are commonly known as the Big Bend Slider (Trachemys gaigeae). It is indigenous to Texas and New Mexico in the United States. It is commonly seen in the Rio Conchos and the Rio Grandes river systems. You can find them basking under the rocks or logs in the water. These are aquatic and omnivorous.

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