Turtles and Tortoises
Turtles are divided into two groups, according to how they tuck their neck inside their shell: the Cryptodira, fold it under their spine and the Pleurodira, which fold their neck to the side.
Adult green turtles are the only marine turtles to exclusively eat plants. Green turtles are the largest of all the hard-shelled sea turtles, but have a comparatively small head.
Adult green turtles are unique among sea turtles in that they are herbivorous, feeding primarily on seagrasses and algae. Once they move to nearshore habitats, adult green turtles are almost exclusively herbivores, feeding on sea grasses and algae. Green turtles are thought to inhabit coastal areas of more than 140 countries.
Shells are commonly colored brown, black, or olive green. Turtles can feel pressure and pain through their shells, just as you can feel pressure through your fingernails. Shells can also be soft and rubbery. The Leatherback is the only sea turtle that does not have a hard shell, instead carrying a mosaic of bony plates beneath its leathery skin.
The leatherback turtle has a unique biology among turtles. Leatherbacks are the largest and heaviest of sea turtles, often weighing nearly 1100 pounds (500 kg). Leatherback turtles eat jellyfish and they often mistake plastic bags for their main food source. Leatherbacks have a mammal-like ability to maintain a high body temperature (about 80° F), independent of the temperature of the surrounding water. Leatherbacks have been recorded 3,000 miles from their nesting grounds.
Loggerheads were named for their relatively large heads, which support powerful jaws and enable them to feed on hard-shelled prey, such as whelks and conch. Loggerheads reach sexual maturity at around 35 years of age. Loggerheads nest throughout the Indian Ocean and, with the exception of Oman, the number of nesting females is small. Loggerhead nesting throughout the Caribbean is sparse. Loggerhead turtles are also found in the Mediterranean.
Tortoise is a land-dweller that eats bushes, shrubs, grasses, and even cactus. Tortoise is generally used to describe a land dwelling turtle, and terrapin is a regional name that is used interchangeably with the other two. Giant tortoises were relatively widely distributed around the world into prehistoric times, and are known to have existed in North and South America, Australia, and Africa.
Turtles are ancient as a family and are among the longest living animals on earth. The first turtles are believed to have existed about 200 million years ago. All species of marine turtles are threatened with extinction. In Australia, all species of marine turtles are protected.
Reptiles in the Newz:
The saliva of the gila monster has led to one of two exciting new drugs to fight type 2 diabetes
Both reptiles are endangered species and there is a danger that they will disappear from the planet. Fortunately, some bright scientists decided that before this happened we should discover how it was that reptiles were able to digest their meals so slowly that they could go for months without eating.
10-foot alligator found in yard
Check out this 10-foot alligator found in a residential backyard in eastern Leon County. The photo was submitted by Lora Wiggins...This alligator was becoming too familiar and too big to be in a residential area, so we called the state certified alligator trapper for this area.
Students watch turtle project grow
ELIZABETHTOWN Fourth-graders at Bladen Lakes Primary School are getting a lesson on animal conservation. For the past year, the children have raised Vietnam pond turtles as part of a project to help replenish the turtle population.
Plunging into mysteries of Deep Hole (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)
Word is that Deep Hole is to alligators what lightbulbs are to insects. The numbers fluctuate wildly, but as many as 120 of the reptiles have been counted in one sitting.