What is the Difference between a Turtle and a Tortoise?

Watching the Animal Planet channel makes us knowledgeable about various animals in this world. We can discover unique characteristics of creatures found on Earth and we are often left in awe with how it strives to live and secure its habitat despite of the cruel games humans play with them. But in case we are not fond of watching this channel in the television, we may have missed a lot of informative facts on animals like the turtle and tortoise.

Turtles and tortoises are popular animals. Since we were kids, we have heard a lot about them but many of us do not know what the distinctions of the previous from the latter are. What is the difference between a turtle and a tortoise? We do not have to be a Science whiz to know their differences. This article will reveal some of the facts that many people miss to know about.

Turtles and tortoise both come from the reptile family called chelonians. Somehow, they have similarities and the most common we can see is their shells. That is why we often conclude they are both made equal. Their protective shells serve as their refuge from imminent danger. They retract inside the thick shell they carry on their backs and this must be their sole way to protect themselves since we all know they are very slow-moving creatures.

Aside from their shells, turtles and tortoise have scales and produce eggs and they are ectothermic creatures. This means they need outside sources to keep their bodies warm as reptiles are cold-blooded. One good example of this outside source is the sun. Oftentimes, we observe them sun bathing when needing some heat and when they need to cool down, turtles go back to the water while tortoises burry themselves underground. Why do turtles return to the water while tortoises underground? This explains why the two are different.

Turtles are naturally aquatic creatures. Some live in saltwater while others live in freshwater. They have paddle-like feet that are used for swimming and they can swim for 20 miles per hour. Their bodies are streamlined to make them swim with ease. Turtles would step foot on dry land only when it is time to lay eggs but eventually will go back to the water after the eggs are hatched.

On the other hand, tortoises are land creatures. They appear bigger and heavier than turtles and they have toes, which is a feature absent from turtles. They have short and thick feet and their claws are sharp as these are used for traction. They have longer lifespan compared to turtles. Tortoises can even live as long as 150 years old!

Now that we know that turtles are different from tortoises, there is no more excuse for using them interchangeably. Let us share this knowledge to other people for them to grasp this important fact as well.

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