World Turtle Day, 23 May

Mauritian tortoise

Happy World Turtle Day!

The American World Tortoise Rescue began World Turtle Day in 2000 to draw attention to turtles and tortoises, to increase knowledge about and respect for them, and to encourage human action to help them survive and thrive [www.tortoise.com].

The Nature Conservancy of Canada lists 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 odor.
  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 degrees 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.

 

The tortoise you see above was photographed at the Île aux Aigrettes Nature Reserve in Mauritius.

 


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