Thursday, February 9, 2017

Monday, February 6, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

How Turtle Shells Evolved

The hard structures started forming before the long reign of the dinosaurs, and they did so for a specific purpose. Click hear to read this interesting story at The Atlantic.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

My Cousin: The Diamondback Terrapin

Can this guy get any more handsome? Look at his markings!

The diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) was once almost pushed to extinction due to a fashion among some members of American society for turtle meat, a trend that thankfully died out before this terrapin did.

The diamondback terrapin has an oblong upper shell (carapace) that is grey, light brown or black and patterned with concentric diamond-shapes. The shell on the underside of the terrapin (the plastron) can range in colour from yellowish to green or black, and may be decorated with bold, dark markings.

The grey or black skin of the limbs and head bears dark flecks and spots, the head is short and flat, and the prominent eyes are black. The large, webbed feet are adapted for swimming, but also bear strong claws that allow the terrapin to clamber up out of the water. Female diamondback terrapins are larger than the males, and have a broader head and shorter tail. Juveniles are patterned much like adults but usually brighter and have rounder shells.

The diamondback terrapin is native to the United States, where it occurs along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from Cape Cod to Texas. The diamondback terrapin inhabits the brackish waters of coastal marshes, tidal flats, coves, estuaries and coastal lagoons.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Elongated Tortoise

And from Southeast Asia, we have the Elongated Tortoise, in trouble for extinction

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Meet Chappy, the Black-Breasted Leaf Turtle.

This small Black-Breasted Leaf Turtle is native to the mountainous regions of northern Vietnam and southern China as well as Laos. It is currently on the endangered species list.

This turtle is easily recognized by its flattened carapace that is distinctively serrated at the front and back, and by the yellow-edged, dark-brown to black plastron for which it earns its common name. There are also three prominent keels protruding down the length of the carapace, which varies considerably in colour from orange-yellow or tan to a rich chestnut or mahogany brown, to a rather drab olive. The olive to dark brown head is characterised by faint yellow markings near the eye and along the neck, and additional pale-coloured speckling may appear on the sides of the head and jaws. The rest of the skin is greyish brown, often dappled with tan, olive or orange coloring.

Perhaps one of the most striking and conspicuous features of this unusual turtle, however, are the large and protuberant eyes with white irises, that give an alert expression.