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9 Mind-blowing Facts about Turtles


Turtles are some pretty magnificent creatures. They have been in existence for far much longer than man walked the earth. Here are a few facts about turtles that are bound to satisfy your knowledge-seeking needs: 

1. World Turtles Day

Being the majestic creatures that they are and having bravely survived through the often detrimental cruelties of time, turtles have been dedicated a day out of every year in thoughtful as well as loving gestures by people around the world. May 23 is the special day of the year, dubbed World Turtles Day when adoring turtle and animal enthusiasts celebrate these age-defying creatures in a lovely and caring show of appreciation for their majesty.

2. Tur-Toise anyone?

More often than not, people beat themselves up for not being able to distinguish between turtles and tortoises correctly. While there is a unique distinction between the two, which is commonly known as the turtle’s aquatic lifestyle and the tortoises’ dry land living preference, all tortoises are turtles. You may, therefore, not be entirely wrong if you referred to a tortoise as a turtle or the other way round because, at the end of the day, they are more of siblings than the same animals of different species.

3. Butt Breathing

If someone were to tell you a good number of the turtle Rheodytes leukops breathe through the cloacal bursae, you might probably not think too much about it as it may sound too scientific to want to divulge too much into it. It may, however, change your mind if you realized that cloacal bursae are a fancy way of describing butts. Well, up to 68% of the turtle Rheodytes leukops breathe through their butts by a special adaptation that allows for oxygen intake through the cloacal bursae to enable them to stay submerged underwater for extended periods. This minimizes the need to swim up to the surface of the water to fill up on fresh air, thereby reducing any potential predatory risk brought by unnecessary exposure. 

4. Snapping Turtles Were Not Always Snappy

Evolution has and still is playing a major role in how the world is shaping up. Along with natural selection, animals and plants alike have developed and lost mechanisms and traits to survive in an existence that does not favor those who cannot adapt optimally. The snapping turtles are a testament to this as they had to drastically change their appearance and physical composition to give them a chance at optimal survival in a world primarily dominated by predators. They had to evolve and adopt a snapping defense system to protect themselves against predators since they grew too big to fit into their shells. 

5. Temperature Determined Gender

Technology has profoundly evolved in recent years and has provided doctors with the science they need to try and optimally predetermine the future gender of a fetus yet to develop any recognizable features. For turtles, however, it is as simple as turning the thermostat up or down to determine the gender of an incubated egg waiting to be hatched. This is because even small variations in temperatures could considerably impact on the sex of the turtles hatched from an incubated egg. It has been noted that if eggs are incubated below the 28 degrees Celsius mark, then the resulting hatched eggs will comprise male turtles. At the same time, if incubated above 31 degrees Celsius, then there will be female turtles hatch.

6. Built-in Shell

A lot of people reserve the imagination that a turtles’ shell is some sort of protective helmet simply covering the backside of a turtle allowing for protective shielding against potentially harmful objects or predators. This is only true to the extent of the shell being a protective mechanism shielding a turtle from harm. The shell itself is an integral part of a turtle’s spine and grows out from the back of its spine with a simultaneous pace as its bodily growth. They are, therefore, not detachable, as many would imagine.

7. Anti-social Soft-shell Turtles

Sitting motionless and fixated in one position can be torturous, especially if it goes on for an extended time. This would matter if soft-shell turtles didn’t actually live like this. A giant soft-shell turtle was found to be capable of spending an unassailable 95% of its day submerged and motionless on the seafloor, only requiring surfacing a maximum of twice a day to refill on fresh air. If it is not on the surface replenishing on fresh air, you will find the soft-shell turtle camouflaged on the seafloor covered with seabed sand just sitting there motionlessly until it needs more fresh air.

8. Teary Nutrition

Excretions from animals have been known to be highly beneficial and eco-friendly. From providing necessary nutrition to plants for optimal growth and health to providing medicinal properties used for various health remedies. Turtles’ tearful excretions, however, are of peculiar and intriguing value to some lovely Amazonian creatures. Some butterflies in the Amazon have been known to source their diet essential sodium minerals from turtle tears. By drinking the turtle tears, these butterflies effectively facilitate their diets with sodium for their normal functioning.

9. Kenyan Turtle Parent

Animals are not particularly known for being affectionate or too involved with another animal from an entirely different species. From time to time, however, we have severally witnessed different animals displaying some unusually magical behaviors where different species have successfully interacted and formed beautiful and unbreakable bonds. In an unprecedented move by one turtle in Kenya left a lot of people from around the world stunned as it took it upon itself to adopt an abandoned hippo after a destructive tsunami separated the hippo from its family. This act revealed the affectionate and loving nature of turtles and animals alike.     

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