Different Types Of Turtles

Out of the 270 types of turtles, the most famous aquatic turtles are sea turtles, and the most popular land turtles are box turtles. Some, like painted turtles, are living works of art, while others, like snapping turtles, are quite dangerous.

Sea Turtles
Some species of sea turtles reach maturity at the age of 50, which leaves scientists to wonder how long a sea turtle could actually live if conditions were ideal. These turtles are well adapted to the ocean and have excellent eyesight in the water. But, once the sea turtle is on land, its eyesight is compromised, as is its ability to travel since it has flippers for legs.

Some types of sea turtles leave the sea only to lay their eggs. When an adult sea turtle comes ashore to lay its eggs, its only real predator is man. In the ocean, sharks and killer whales hunt sea turtles. Baby sea turtles are an entirely different story. Baby sea turtles have many predators, such as crabs, dogs, raccoons, seabirds and a variety of fish. The majority of sea turtle hatchings never reach the water or are eaten by ocean predators within days of their birth.

Box Turtles
Box turtles have a hinged, domed shell, which they can close completely if threatened. One way to tell the female and male box turtle apart-aside from the fact that adult male box turtles are larger than adult females-is the color of their eyes. Adult male box turtles have red irises, while the females have yellowish-brown irises. Two additional tell-tale signs can be found on the claws and tail of a male box turtle. The back claws will be shorter, thicker and curved, and the tail will be thicker and longer.

Painted Turtles And Red-Eared Sliders
The painted turtle, with its colorful under-shell and striped head and legs, is beautiful. The yellow and red lines distinguish this turtle from its relative, the red-eared slider. Both are pond turtles and are similar in appearance, but the painted turtle will reach only 10 inches at maturity whereas the red-eared slider can grow a few inches longer. Painted turtles require exercise and plenty of protein. Feeder fish can be used to take care of both. Provide plenty of veggies for your turtle as well as protein, however. In the wild this turtle will eat about half protein and half vegetation. This carnivorous reptile has been known to live for up to 30 years in captivity.

Snapping Turtles
A snapping turtle can grow to about 2 feet in length and can reach upwards of 80 pounds at maturity. Not only is a snapper a fast-growing turtle, but it is also aggressive. When kept in a tank, a snapping turtle will make short work of rearranging the plants and rocks on a daily basis and, because it is a messy water eater, it always seems to have a dirty tank. At adulthood, this turtle is strong enough to snap off a human finger or more and is not considered a good choice for a pet turtle. Snapping turtles are one of the popular wild turtles hunted for use in turtle soup.

Soft-Shelled Turtles
Soft-shelled turtles, like the apalone mutica, have webbed feet with three toes and tend to be shy around people, but aggressive around their own kind. These turtles should not be kept in tanks together, as they can injure or kill one another if they become too aggressive.

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