Published on Tue, 05/16/2017 by Nature Conservancy of Canada

10 fun facts about turtles

World Turtle Day, May 23, is an annual occasion that the American Tortoise Rescue began 17 years ago to honour and promote turtle and tortoise conservation around the world. Sadly, global turtle and tortoise populations are declining because of smuggling, climate change, habitat destruction, the exotic food industry and the pet trade. To date, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has protected habitat for eight at-risk turtle species.

Leatherback sea turtle (Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region)

Leatherback sea turtle (Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region)

In honour of World Turtle Day, here are 10 fun facts about turtles:

  1. Turtle shells have nerves and a blood supply, making them an active part of turtles’ bodies.  
  2. The eastern snapping turtle, Canada’s largest freshwater turtle, stays submerged for so long that algae grows on its shell.  
  3. When threatened, the eastern musk turtle, a.k.a. “stinkpot,” releases a skunk-like odour.  
  4. Leatherback turtles, the largest turtle species in the world, can weigh up to 680 kilograms. 
  5. A turtle’s shell is an altered ribcage that’s part of its vertebral column and consists of 50 different plate-covered bones.   
  6. When female sea turtles are ready to lay their eggs, they travel all the way back to the same beach where they were born.  
  7. Turtles inhabit all continents except Antarctica.  
  8. Nest temperature affects which sex sea turtles are born as, with temperatures above 29° Celsius resulting in more female offspring.  
  9. The oldest discovered turtle fossil dates from around 220 million years ago.   
  10. The longest-lived turtle died at age 188.  

Snapping turtle (Photo by Alain Belliveau)

Snapping turtle (Photo by Alain Belliveau)

To learn more about Canada’s turtle species, visit http://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/what-we-do/resource-centre/featured-species/eastern-snapping-turtle.html.

 

AttachmentSize
leatherback_sea_turtle_photo_by_u.s._fish_and_wildlife_service_southeast_region.jpgleatherback_sea_turtle_photo_by_u-s_fish_and_wildlife_service_southeast_region.jpg1.28 MB
snapping_turtle_photo_by_alain_belliveau.jpgsnapping_turtle_photo_by_alain_belliveau.jpg3.81 MB