Turtles are one of the most ancient creatures on the planet. This squad lives on Earth for 220 million years. Turtles live both in water and on land in tropical and temperate zones. Bone shell developed long ago, as a protection against predators.
The largest representatives today have a shell length of more than two meters and weigh more than six hundred kilograms. Today, science knows more than two hundred species, and some of them are really unusual and require more detailed acquaintance.
The prickly turtle.
This rare species occurs in Southeast Asia, from Burma and to the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan. The turtle prefers wet and wetlands. The edge shields of the shell of this creature are exposed to the side, forming sharp spikes and a rather unusual appearance. Spikes not only help to protect themselves from attack by predators, but also act as a part of protective camouflage, resembling fallen leaves. Similarities with them are added by the brown color of the shell. Such a tortoise, unlike most of its relatives, it is quite difficult to take on hands. But a person still hunts for this species, as a result, its number has recently decreased significantly. In young individuals the spines are sharper along the edges, and with age, these spines become more rounded. In addition, as adults grow older, turtles prefer to move from land to water. The prickly turtle feeds quite a variety – berries, fruits, earthworms and pieces of meat.
Soft Chinese tortoise.
Strangeness of this unusual tortoise not only in its soft shell. Not so long ago, scientists discovered that this creature also carries out urination through its own mouth. Behavior turtle for a long time surprised biologists. Why she, breathing light, so often hides her head under water. Scientists have analyzed the behavior of the reptile, and it turned out that only 6% of urine is excreted through the cloaca. An especially developed organization of the mouth allows you to urinate through this organ. Such a strange feature allows the tortoise to survive in salt water. Soft-turtle turtles are found not only in China, but also in many countries of East Asia, living in swamps and streams. In the region, such a reptile is considered a delicacy. In China, there are more than one and a half thousand farms that annually grow 90 million such turtles. Due to the high demand for cooking, the species is under threat of destruction. A soft-turtle turtles are already in Malaysia, Hawaii and even California. Scientists have found that the villi on the shells of these turtles are somewhat like fish gills and can in some way influence the filtration of oxygen. Although these turtles breathe light, they somehow manage to dive under the water for up to a hundred minutes. How they manage to do this is a mystery.
Tortoise of the Mary River.
This rare species lives exclusively in the Mary River in the territory of the Australian state of Queensland. Adult turtles have an elongated and streamlined shell, and the color differs – from pink and red to brown and even black. In comparison with the body, the head is small, and the tail is long. It can reach two thirds of the shell, which is a record for all turtles. Under the chin, there are long outgrowths resembling antennae. Sexual maturity in this species occurs in 25 years for females and 30 years for men, which is quite a lot. The large hind legs allow the turtle to be an excellent swimmer. The tortoise of the Mary River can breathe with the help of a cloaca under the water, however they often rise to the surface to swallow a portion of oxygen in the usual way. Long stay in the water leads to the fact that the algae grow right on the body of the turtle. This is convenient, at least for reasons of disguise. As a result, turtles look like real punks with their bright hairstyles.
Barbed tortoise tortoise.
This species can be found in southern Canada, in the US east of the Rocky Mountains and in Northern Mexico. This creature has a unique appearance.The head of the turtle is triangular, and the flat round shell is covered with black spots. With age, they, however, go. The turtle has a long and thin nose, and on the anterior part of the shell there are cone-like thickenings. The soft shell is strewn with small spines and tubercles. The species lives in water bodies, the main food is insects and rarely when fish. Sexual maturity occurs by 8-10 years, and such turtles live up to 50 years. In aquariums, they need a lot of stones and islets, where they could bask. Sand is poured to the bottom so that the turtle can completely dig in. Interestingly, this species is very aggressive and can even bite. Often when cohabiting together, the tortoises are injured each other.
Eastern long-necked turtle.
In the lakes of Australia and in the southeastern US, there is an unusual tortoise with a long neck. The neck is so long that the turtle hides its head, just bending it under the armor, and not turning inwards. This kind of looks very like a snake, even the way of hunting is unusual. A turtle catches up prey by simply straightening its neck. When a creature is in danger, it can release a fetid liquid from its glands. Such secretion can extend to a distance of up to a meter, which leads to the flight of any attacker. Most of their lives, these turtles are carried on the ground. The color of the shell varies from olive to brown, it is striated with a pattern of green lines. With age, the carapace becomes smooth, dark and round. The average length of such turtles is 10-15 centimeters. Creatures are very timid, but they can also bite the offender. These are capricious in terms of nutrition creatures, which rarely fall into the hands of lovers.
A little hunchbacked turtle.
This small tortoise lives in the fresh waters of Mississippi and Alabama. Its most important feature – a few spines on top of the shell, which in older individuals become less pronounced. Below there are also beautiful patterns, light gray or blue. The head of the turtles is small, the diameter of the carapace reaches an average of 15 centimeters. And this species eats mostly insects, which they manage to catch on the surface of the river. Headed turtle. These creatures live in Southeast Asia in transparent fast and stony streams. The main feature of the species, as the name implies, is a huge head. The shell is smooth and flat, brown. Unlike most turtles, this species can not drag its head into the protective shelter, so the bony helmet protects the open part of the body. Powerful same jaws serve the turtle as additional protection against threats. Due to its essentially “beak”, claws and muscular tail, this tortoise can even climb over inclined tree trunks. During the day, these creatures hide under rocks, and in the evening they go out hunting. The main food is small fish, worms, mollusks and other invertebrates. Due to the extermination of people, the species became very rare.
This species is a native inhabitant of New Guinea and Australia. This is the only freshwater tortoise, in which the paws have the form of fins, as in marine species. However, the most unusual is the nose of the creature, which resembles a pig’s stigma. Such an organ can play the role of a tube, allowing you to breathe without rising from the water. Also, the nose is very sensitive to fluctuations in water, allowing you to find prey in turbid conditions. Turtles prefer shallow ponds. Their weight reaches 20 kilograms, and the length of the shell is up to 60 centimeters. These turtles live up to 50-100 years. Over the past half-century, the population of the pigtailed turtle has halved because of the extermination by smugglers. Such creatures were often captured simply in the form of exotic artifacts. And on New Guinea, the meat of the turtles is also eaten, which also affected the population. But this is the last representative of an ancient family that lived on Earth 40 million years ago. It is also good that recently Australia and Indonesia have taken measures to protect such an amazing species. A short-necked red-bellied tortoise.
These water turtles also inhabit Australia and Papua New Guinea in rivers, lakes and lagoons. The shell on the edges has an orange color, and the bottom is also of the same beautiful bright color. In young individuals, it is more pronounced. These turtles spend almost their entire life in the water, returning only to get warm. The length of the shell reaches a quarter of a meter. The main food is animal. It can be fish, insects, invertebrates.
African helmet tortoise.
This species is typical of Africa, spreading from Ghana to South Africa, hitting both Madagascar and even the Arabian Peninsula. The name came from a flat and large head covered with scutes. In case of danger, the head and legs will be drawn into the shell, and the slit is closed by a movable flap. Inhabited in freshwater reservoirs, the turtle often goes to land. In periods of drought and during the drying of lakes, it can even be buried in mud. The turtle is famous for the fact that on each of its limbs there are glands that can give a strong smell. It acts depressingly on people and horses. The small tortoise (up to 30 centimeters) feeds mainly on frogs, tadpoles and invertebrates. Sometimes creatures unite in packs and hunt already for large game – snakes, birds, other turtles. This is the only known species that can be hunted by a pack. The behavior of the female, which is applied urine preliminarily to the chosen place, is also interesting. This helps to soften the surface and facilitates digging.
Indian turtle turtle.
The fact that the turtle hides in its shell does not surprise anyone. But this species has achieved perfection in this matter. In case of danger, the retracted hind paws are protected by dermal valves, the front edges of the plastron and carapace also close. Thus, the skin covers all limbs, it is unclear how true it protects from predators. The turtle feeds mainly on frogs, not disdaining newborn mice, fish and tadpoles. The lobed tortoise is found in India, Pakistan, Burma and Sri Lanka. Local people are happy to use this reptile for food.