Turtle identification is useful because you will not only know what sort of turtle you have, but you will also know how to take care of it properly. There are different types of turtles, and if you own one, it is important that you know what it is because not all turtles have the same requirements.

Turtle Identification: Box Turtles

Box turtles are known for their dome shells that are hinged at the bottom. This allows the turtle to close its shell to escape predators. They are omnivores that have sharp eyes and a keen sense of smell. The young are carnivorous, and as they grow old, become herbivorous. They are also known to eat road-kill.

One of the box turtle’s defense mechanisms is to snap its jaw shut. This can produce a sound as loud as 75 decibels, which scares predators away. This sound can also be used as a mating call.

Box turtles can live up to twenty years, with some reaching the age of 40 or 50.

Turtle Identification: Sea Turtles

Sea turtles are found worldwide, except in the Arctic Ocean. There are seven species of sea turtles. These include the flatback, green, hawksbill, Kemp’s Ridley, leatherback, loggerhead, and olive ridley.

Sea turtle identification can be achieved if you see that the turtle has a dorsoventrally flattened body, two hind legs, and highly evolved paddle-like front arms. Leatherback turtles are the only turtles without a hard shell. Instead, they carry a mosaic of bony plates under their leathery skin.

Sea turtles are speculated to live up to 80 years.

Turtle Identification: Snapping Turtles

These are formally referred to as Common Snapping Turtles to distinguish them from the Alligator Snapping Turtle. They are also known as “snappers”.

Snapping turtles are known for their beak-like jaws and mobile head and beak, which is serpent-like. They are found in shallow lakes, ponds, or streams. They eat both plants and meat.

Common snappers are known to live for up to 39 years in captivity, while those in the wild are estimated to live for up to 30 years.

Turtle Identification: Soft-shell Turtles

Soft-shell turtles really have soft shells. Mostly, their shells are thickened skin. Because of this, they are more sensitive to bites, bumps, and rocks than other turtles with hard shells.

Softshell turtles spend most of their time under water, buried under sandy rivers or lakes with just their long probiscus sticking out of the surface. These kinds of turtles breathe through their skin, so they are also vulnerable to water impurities.

Turtle Identification: Tortoises

Tortoises, or land turtles, are reclusive creatures that are difficult to breed in captivity. They have specific air moisture, diet, light, roaming space, and temperature requirements. They are also impossible to train.

Most tortoises are herbivores, but they will also eat various insects. Additionally, tortoises are sexually dimorphic, which means they have differences between sexes. To determine this, you will have to look at the tail. The females have smaller tails that are dropped down while the males have longer tails that are pulled up to the side of the rear shell.

Turtle identification is fairly easy since the turtles have distinguishing traits that make them stand out from other species of turtle.

Turtle Tanks Tip #1

Remember that turtles are not all alike. Each different species and sub species require different housing, feeding and water needs. Only after you have properly identified your turtle can you create the perfect environment for raising it. Therefore, your first concern should be to clearly identify what species your pet turtle is.

Turtle Tanks Tip #2

Aquatic turtles should be kept in aquariums that have fairly deep water, a basking area, and heat and light sources. Turtles that are mostly terrestrial still need to have some water but should not be kept in aquariums. They will be happier in wide wooden or plastic enclosures that contain the right substrate and a wading dish.

Turtle Tanks Tip #3

Be sure to wash and sterilize anything you pick up from the yard before placing it in the turtle tank. Don’t add any decorations in the tank that are sharp, pointed, or small enough that your turtle could potentially swallow them.