Turtles have been around for 165 million years, but you may not know that there are 12 species of these reptiles. They live on every continent except Antarctica and can be found in a variety of habitats, from deserts to rainforests. This article will discuss the most common turtle species, where they live, what they eat, how old they grow to be, and how long their lifespan is.
Red-eared Slider: Often mistaken for a baby turtle, the red-eared slider is actually its own species. They are found in North America and grow to be about six inches long when fully mature.
Russian Tortoise: The Russian tortoise has an average lifespan of 50 years but can live up to 100 years if they are well taken care of. They can be found on the steppes in Europe as far west as France and eastward into Siberia.
Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle: These turtles are found in the ocean and grow to be around four feet long. They live for about 20 years but can sometimes live up to 40 if they have good luck.
Painted terrapin: This turtle lives near saltwater marshes in North America from Virginia to Texas. It has a lifespan of around 45 years and grows to be about two feet long.
Gopher tortoise: The Gopher Tortoise is found in the United States from Texas all the way up to Canada. It can live for over 100 years, but only if it has an adequate habitat with a lot of sun exposure.
Australian Flatback Turtle: The Australian flatback turtle is found in Australia and lives for about 50 years. It can grow to be up to three feet long, but most are around two feet long when fully grown.
Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle: This turtle is found in the United States and grows to be about four feet long. It can live for up to 50 years, but unfortunately, many die sooner because predators like raccoons or other turtles may eat them while they are still young.
Western Painted Turtles: These turtles grow to be about two feet long and can be found in North America. They live for around 50 years, but if they are well-cared-for, then their lifespan can range from 60 to 80 years.
Tortoise: The tortoise is not actually a turtle at all; it’s an animal that has shell-like turtles but is not a reptile. They can be found in Africa and Asia but are only around the size of one foot long when they reach adulthood.
Black Softshell Turtle: Found in North America from Alabama to Canada, this turtle has been growing to two feet long for about 150 years now, although it’s believed that they grew much larger in the past.
Eastern Long-Necked Turtle: These turtles are found in Asia from China to Japan, and they grow to be about four feet long when fully grown up. It can live for around 70 years, but that is only if it has an adequate habitat with a lot of sun exposure.
Leatherback Sea turtle: Found in the Atlantic ocean, this turtle is often referred to as “the world’s largest living reptile.” The leatherback sea turtle can grow up to six feet long and live for around 80 years.
Malayan Pond Turtle: This species of turtle lives near freshwater marshes from India all the way into Malaysia. They take about 20 years to grow up, but it’s not too difficult for them to live a long life because of the lack of predators.
North American Wood Turtle: This turtle lives in North America but can be found as far south as Florida to the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska. It’s very difficult for them to grow up because raccoons or other turtles often hunt them down while young enough that their shells haven’t hardened yet.
Gulf Coast Box Turtle: This turtle lives in North America and grows to be about two feet long. They can live for up to 50 years, but unfortunately, many die sooner because predators like raccoons or other turtles may eat them while still young.
Turtles are fascinating creatures that have been with us since the very beginning of time. Today, they still inhabit all corners of our world and continue to surprise and delight us in equal measure. Just like lizards, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, live on land or in water, eat plants or other animals, belong to one genus (Chelonia) or many genera, and are known by different names in different cultures.