what we look like, where we live and where you live.
Before we get on with this, let's be clear that scientists like veterinarians and such have their own words for us. They call us all chelonians.
But ordinary people use ordinary words. The trouble is that sometimes you don't all mean the same thing even when you use the same words.
What we look like
all have shells. But some of our shells are covered with scutes while
others are have a leathery covering. Some shells are domed, some are
like saddles and some are almost flat.
We all have four legs. But some of us have thick stumpy legs with stumpy feet. Some have webs between our toes. Some have flippers that are hardly legs at all.
Of course we have other differences, too, or else our friends wouldn't be able to tell us apart. But these two differences (shells and feet) help to tell if someone is a tortoise, turtle or terrapin because what we look like helps you to know what our natural habitat is.
Where we live
The terms 'turtle,' 'tortoise,' and 'terrapin' are often used
interchangeably, and depending on which country you are in, may describe
a completely different type of 'turtle.' But before you get too
concerned about the common names, let us take a step back and identify
them as belonging to one common order, the Chelonia. If it has a shell
and is a reptile, then it is going to fall into the order Chelonia,
which includes 244 different species
We have three main habitats ...
- We can live on land
- We can live in the sea
we can live sort of in between, spending time both on the land and in
the water. Lots of us in this group live in brackish water. That's water
that is sort of salty, the water you find at a river mouth where it
joins the ocean.
Thanks to www.totallytortoise.com for the information above.
For most Americans, the term 'turtle' describes the Chelonians that are aquatic or semi-aquatic. The term 'tortoise' describes a Chelonian that lives primarily on land. 'Terrapin' can describe some freshwater or saltwater turtles, but is not often used.
There you have it.