Q:

Where do turtles live?

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Quick Answer

Turtles inhabit virtually every terrestrial, aquatic and marine habitat in the world that is warm enough to permit activity. Turtles are residents of every continent except Antarctica and of all the world’s temperate and tropical oceans.

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Where do turtles live?
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Full Answer

The 327 living turtle species exhibit remarkable diversity, and they have colonized most available habitats. Some species live in deserts, while others live in rainforests, temperate forests, grasslands, lakes, ponds, rivers, swamps and coral reefs. Some turtles, particularly the wide-ranging sea turtles, have huge ranges that span thousands of miles. By contrast, some species inhabit only a small geographic area or a particular body of water.

Some of the areas with extraordinary diversity include the rivers, lakes and streams of the southeastern United States, the rainforests of Southeast Asia, central Africa and the Amazon basin. The Galapagos Islands are home to the largest terrestrial species, Chelonoidis nigra, while southern Africa is home to the smallest species, Homopus signatus.

Turtles may eat plants, animals or both. While most have relatively flexible diets and will concentrate on abundant prey, some turtles and tortoises specialize on a particular type of prey. For example, snapping turtles may consume ducks, plants, birds, snakes, fish, insects or other turtles, while the hawksbill turtle primarily consumes immobile animals called sponges.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How long do turtles live?

    A:

    Turtles, including tortoises and terrapins, have varying life spans depending on the species. Some live only 10 to 25 years, while others live for over 150 years. The oldest recorded turtle is Harriet the Turtle, who died at 175 years old in 2006.

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  • Q:

    How do turtles breathe?

    A:

    Turtles breathe by taking oxygen into the lungs and releasing carbon dioxide when exhaling. Water turtles hold oxygen in their lungs for longer periods than other animals, allowing them to remain submerged completely for many hours without running out of air.

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  • Q:

    Can turtles come out of their shells?

    A:

    Turtles never come out of their shells. A turtle shell grows with the turtle, so there is no reason for a turtle to swap shells. If a turtle shell receives any damage, it can repair itself the same way as any other living part of the turtle.

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  • Q:

    Do turtles have backbones?

    A:

    Turtles have backbones. According to Scholastic, turtles are reptiles, and all reptiles have backbones. A turtle's shell has upper and lower parts, the carapace and plastron, respectively, which are connected to the animal's backbone, ribs, shoulders and hips.

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