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Turtle/Tortoise


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Greek Tortoise, Testudo graeca

Introduction Greek Tortoises are native to Southern Spain, Northern Africa, parts of Europe as well as the Middle East. They are a moderately sized tortoise, attaining sizes between 6-7 inches, and can live over 50 years. They are terrestrial and inhabit areas with dry climates and low humidity. They may spend the hotter parts of the day in a burrow, but otherwise are diurnal.

Spotted Turtle, Clemmys guttata

Spotted Turtle, Clemmys guttataIntroduction The Spotted Turtle is a small turtle reaching sizes of 5 inches. They are identified by yellow spots on the carapace. Many have orange spots on their heads. They are native to the eastern coastal states and the Great Lakes. The eastern range is from southern Maine to northern Florida. The Great Lakes range is from western New York and western Pennsylvania, northern Ohio, southern Ontario, northeastern Illinois and western Michigan. Small populations also occur in central Indiana, South Carolina and North Carolina as well as parts of Canada.

Mata Mata, Chelus fimbriatus

matamataIntroduction The Mata Mata is a large sedentary turtle. They are often found in slow moving, black water streams, pools, and swamps. They have a native range stretching into northern Bolivia, most of Ecuador, parts of Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas and Brazil. The Mata Mata is strictly an aquatic species but it prefers standing in shallow water where its snout can reach the surface to breathe. Mata Mata are a well camouflaged ambush predator. They remain motionless in the water; its shell, head and skin allow it to blend into the vegetation until prey is within striking distance.

Red Eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans

red eared sliderIntroduction Red Eared Sliders have a vast distribution in the United States ranging from Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico, and the East Coast to western Texas. Due to people releasing their pet turtles into the wild, they may also occur in other areas as well.

They spend most of their time in or near water. Although it can be found in lakes and rivers, the Red Eared Slider prefers marshes, ponds, and slow-moving water that is capable of providing food, basking and hiding spots. They are omnivorous and will consume most plant or animal matter that they encounter.

African Spur-thighed Tortoise, Geochelone sulcata

sulcata African Spur-thighed Tortise, Geochelone sulcataIntroduction Sulcata tortoises are native to northern parts of Africa, ranging from the Sahara down through the arid countries, including Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, the Sudan, and Ethiopia. Captive bred and imported Sulcatas are both readily available. The sulcata is a large African mainland tortoise, with animals easily reaching 24-30 inches and weighting between 80-110 pounds. Sulcatas come from some of the hottest, driest areas in Africa. Some regions may not get rain for years.

Eastern Box Turtle, Terrapene carolina carolina

eastern box turtleIntroduction Eastern Box Turtles are omnivorous terrestrial turtles native to the eastern part of the United States. They can attain a length of 8 inches. A distinctive characteristic of box turtles is their hinged plastron (bottom of the shell) that can be shut very tightly to protect it from predators. While other turtles posses hinged shells, they cannot be closed completely. While box turtles may resemble tortoises, they are more closely related to many aquatic turtles and belong to the same family as map and painted turtles.