Written by Jack Burns
How would you like to age very very slowly and live up to 150 years or more? How would you like to make kids at older age? Well, Turtles can do it. These lucky reptiles possess extremely unique biological abilities, which most of us would die for…But what if we could learn from Turtles how to treat human heart attacks and strokes? Oh YES, that would definitely be incredible news!
Well, in 2013 a group of scientists from Washington University, UCLA and St. Louis University managed to decode the genome of the most widespread native turtle in North America. The Painted Turtle.
Before I move on to their fascinating discoveries and how it might change our world, here are some basic facts about this wonderful reptile…
Painted Turtle Facts
How do they look? These olive-brown turtles with the orange, red and yellow markings have 12 cm (4.8 in) to 25 cm (10 in) long shells. Whenever they feel danger, these ancient reptiles will fully withdraw their head, limbs and tail, right back into their shell. Their head is quite unique and features yellow stripes and spots on its chin and behind its eyes.
Where do they live? These popular reptiles are the only turtles whose habitat reaches from the Atlantic to the Pacific. You will find them in southern Canada, northern Mexico and across 45 states in the U.S. This turtle is the official reptile of the state of Colorado! The Painted Turtle will spend most of his time in the water, except for the times when he is ‘sunbathing’ on rocks or logs near the shore.
Who eats them? The hard shell of adult Painted Turtles will definitely protect them from most predators. However, when they are just eggs or babies, they are frequently devoured by rodents, foxes, birds and snakes.
What is their lifespan? Scientists revealed that 99 out of every 100 adult Painted turtles survive from one year to another. In captivity and as pets, they have an average lifespan of 30 years, while some live as long as 50 years. However, according to the theories of scientists, a Painted Turtle may live up to 300 years. So as you can see, there are plenty of precious lessons to learn from this incredible reptile…