Did you know there are 327 known species of turtles in the world? How many types of turtles do you know?
Almost all turtle species have at least one unique feature. Even if there are absolute similarities in the physical characteristics of certain species, there will usually be some behavioral differences depending on their natural habitat and the history of their evolution. Naturally, if you are a turtle enthusiast, then you should acquaint yourself with the most exciting types of turtles out there. Among the hundreds of species, here are three types of turtles you definitely must learn about, and if possible – see in person…
Red Eared Slider Turtles: Are they the
Most Invasive Types of Turtles?
I would be surprised if you haven’t heard of the beloved Red eared slider turtle, since it’s quite popular wherever you go. This cute turtle got its name from the red markings on the sides of his head. It’s a semi-aquatic turtle and is also known as Trachemys scripta elegans. There are some nonscientific names as well such as Red-eared terrapin. This species is found most abundantly in southern United States and northern Mexico, and it is related to the pond slider.
The Red eared sliders are among the most popular types of turtles, mainly because they have been widely domesticated in the United States and across the globe. Since they were first introduced to the U.S, they have aggressively outcompeted and displaced western pond turtles from many fresh water ponds. In the state of Montana, officials of the Fish Wildlife and Park department even decided to ban the Red-eared sliders! Why? Well, they were eating about anything on their way. These combative turtles are actually on the list of the 100 most invasive species in the world!
However, don’t be alarmed. As pets, Red eared sliders are extremely convenient to maintain, they are not aggressive at all and don’t pose much threat to the pet owner.
Green Turtles: Popular Soup in The U.S?
These beautiful types of turtles were once regarded as a delicacy of the sea. They were commonly used for making turtle soup in Singapore and the U.S, and were nearly hunted down to extinction in many regions of the world. Green turtles are also known as the Green sea turtle, while their scientific name is Chelonia mydas. They are also popularly known as black sea turtles or pacific green turtles. They are aquatic and mostly found in subtropical as well as tropical seas. This is why they thrive in abundance across the Pacific as well as the Atlantic Oceans.
Green turtles are regarded as exotic creatures. They are considerably large and tend to stay and hibernate together. During hibernation or while looking for fresh feeding grounds, the green turtles tend to flock together to new shores and destinations. They can swim for long distances across the seas. It is due to this collective flocking tendency that brings them to many beaches along their path, which leads to the naming of certain islands as Turtle Island.
Unfortunately, in recent years, Green Turtles have been plagued by a cauliflower-like tumor that sprout from their mouths, fins or eyes. As you can probably guess, the cause is human-made, namely the pollution we create, manufacture and then spill into our oceans.
Are There Really Snapping
Turtles With Two Heads?
You surely heard the news this last November about the lady in Main who discovered a shocking two-headed Snapping turtle! This deformity, which occurs also in humans, is called Polycephaly. It happens when twin embryos fail to separate. However, most Snapping Turtles have only one head.
There are actually two types of Snapping turtles – the common snapping turtle and the Alligator snapping turtle. The common snapping turtle is known as Chelydra serpentine. It is a freshwater turtle found mostly in Canada and along the Rocky Mountains. They are also found in Florida and Nova Scotia. The common snapping turtles have beak-like jaws, their heads and necks are very agile and they can move in patterns similar to that of snakes.
The Alligator snapping turtles are known as Macrochelys temminckii. They are much larger than the common snapping turtles, and are also found in freshwaters. This huge and unique turtle, who is often called the “dinosaur of the turtle world”, is the largest freshwater turtle on the planet, based on weight. It can weigh as much as 200 pounds. Unfortunately, these marvelous creatures were harvested in the past for human consumption, are now critically endangered.
Want to learn more about endangered types of turtles? Take a look at the Sea Turtle page of the World Wild Life organization.
Have you heard of the Painted Turtle Research that might change our World?