Hello lovely Steemians !
Today I want to present to you some pictures of two super cute turtles that I captured on one of my countless visits to the Botanical Garden. I already visited those two several times and named them Peppa and George ^^ And as those are usually not the quickest animals, I really take my time this visit to picture some nice portraits pictures of them, hehe .. I will also add some nice information for you after presenting my pictures .. This said, please enjoy my little turtle post ;)
The first turtle that I have for you is a Yellow-bellied Slider. This is George. I found him this time sitting on a bolder at the pond and approached slowly to not frighten him before I could take my pictures ^^
George is a Yellow-bellied Slider. I found. He has this beautiful dome-shaped shell, usually found on terrestrial tortoises, but also webbed limbs and long claws that are common amongst amphibious turtles. This turtle is a land and water turtle. Yellow-bellied sliders are native to the southeastern United States, and the most common turtle species in its range. They are found in a wide variety of habitats, including slow-moving rivers, floodplain swamps, marshes, seasonal wetlands, and permanent ponds.
When I can back to my first position for another portrait show I figured out that George was not moving at all. He was sitting there patiently posing for me. There was no movement at all when suddenly, he looked me directly in the eyes ! I got goosebumps, hehe ^^
The second one that I want to show to you is Pepper. She is a Red-eared Slider Turtle. As George, she is also a semiaquatic turtle that is native to the southern United States and northern parts of Mexico. The Reed-eared slider is actually the most popular pet turtle in the world and became an invasive species in many areas. They are even included in the list of the world's 100 most invasive species by the IUCN.
Unfortunately Peppa was not so patiently posing for me. Instead she just turned around after a few seconds and crawled away. But luckily this granted me some amazing pictures on the physics of turtle movement. You can nicely see how Peppa uses her feet in an alternating thrusting movement to push herself forward. It looked sooo cute ^^
After some thrust she just stopped and ignored me from this point on, not moving any further or looking back at me. So I decided to walk away in the end and left her sitting there in peace.
Interested in more Facts about Turtles?
Turtle VS Tortoise
Are you confused about the two words turtle and tortoise ? Many people do not know that both words are actually not the same and have to be distinguished. Thereby the word Turtle usually refers to the order as a whole (USA) or is used for water-dwelling species (UK). The word Tortoise only refers to the land-dwelling, non-swimming species.
Some Turtle Records
- The largest living turtle is the Leatherback Sea Turtle with a shell length of 2 m and a weight of over 900 kg.
- It is known that there existed several Giant Tortoises species in prehistoric times up to 4.5 m length ! But unfortunately, they were too delicious and therefore are extinct since the appearance of man. The only surviving Giant Tortoises left is the Galápagos Tortoise with a length of 1.9 m and a weight around 400 kg.
- The smallest turtle is the Speckled Padloper Tortoise with a length of 8 cm and a weight of 140 g.
Two Subgroups, distinguished by Neck Movement
Turtles are divided into two groups, according to how they retract their necks into their shells. The Pleurodira retracts laterally to the side, anterior to shoulder girdles, while the Cryptodira retracts straight back, between shoulder girdles.
The primary function of neck retraction is eating ^^ Reatraction allows turtles to reach out further to capture their prey while swimming. In addition, the expansion causes a suction when the head is thrusted forward to help to catch the prey. This method is used by both, the Pleurodirans and Cryptodirans.
The Turtle Shell
Turtles possess hard shells. Thereby the upper shell is called carapace and the lower shell is called plastron. Both are joined together on the turtle's sides by bridges. The outer layer of the shell is covered by horny scutes made of keratin. Those scales are similar to those of other reptiles and add strength to the shell.
Usually turtles have rather light, flat and streamlined shells, which aid in swimming and diving, while tortoises have rather heavy, large, and dome-shaped shells that are not so easily crushed by their predators.
Turtles also molt their skin, but contrary to other reptiles such as snakes, they are not doing it at once, but continuously in small pieces.
"You do have some species where the carapace is not hard, more like a leatherly consistency ".. Note by @pardinus
Diet of Turtles
Turtles have rigid beaks and use their jaws to cut and chew food. Horny ridges cover those. Thereby carnivorous turtles usually have knife-sharp ridges for slicing through their prey, while herbivorous turtles have serrated-edged ridges that help them cut through tough plants. They only use their tongues to swallow food and cannot stick them out to catch food.
The turtle's diet is depending on its environment. Thereby it ranges from algae, over invertebrates such as insects, snails, and worms up to small fish and even shellfish.
Feet of Turtles
Terrestrial tortoises have short, sturdy feet and are famous for moving slowly. The feet of amphibious turtles are very similar, but in addition they are webbed and possess long claws to clamber onto riverbanks and floating logs upon which they bask. For swimming, they use all four feet to paddle, by alternately thrust their limbs. The large turtles tend to swim less than smaller one and prefer to walk along the bottom of the rivers or lakes. Some even have real flippers, with the digits fused into paddles. Those Sea Turtles fly through the water, using the up-and-down motion of the front flippers to generate thrust.
Other Interesting Facts
Turtles have exceptional night vision. They also have a sizable vocal repertoire and make various sounds when communicating, especially when courting and mating ^^ They are quite intelligent and are better than white rats at learning to navigate through mazes. They even play with each other and demonstrated a long-term memory of at least 7.5 months.
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