The Magnificent Testudine

In my opinion, turtles are one of the most fascinating animals within our natural world. There is so much about them that the vast majority doesn’t know! There are hundreds of different turtle species. I happen to own three different types of turtles; an ornate box turtle, a three-toed box turtle and a couple of yellow-bellied sliders. Now, you may be asking, why do I find turtles so fascinating? Well, allow me to elaborate! When I was younger I thought all of the animal kingdom was amazing; every animal interested me to some extent. Though I never thought I would grow so fond of turtles. That is, until I owned one for the first time. It was an incredibly fun experience which is why I continue to collect turtles now. When my mom told me a friend from work was giving me her turtle I was ecstatic. This wasn’t technically my first turtle, it was only the first one I had kept permanently as a pet. I knew sort of what to expect. Once I got my ‘first turtle’ from my mom’s co-worker as a gift, I was happy, but very unprepared. I had no idea there was so much care and attention that went into keeping a turtle. I wanted to make sure I provided the most efficient care for this turtle, so I did my research. I discovered that you must keep the turtle’s water in a certain temperature range, as well as the lighting temperature. You need a filter, a basking platform (a.k.a land to crawl on), special UVB lighting, water purifier etc. Although, I learned other things besides care requirements. I learned things about turtles themselves. Did you know the belly of a turtle is called the plastron, and that the top part of the shell is known as the carapace? Aquatic turtles, specifically, can only eat underwater! Turtles like my Yellow-bellied sliders; they need the water to digest meals properly. They even have multiple eyelids for swimming under water! While on the subject of water, can you believe slider turtles like mine can stay months underwater without swimming to the surface for air! They absorb the oxygen that naturally dissolves into the water. Now those facts were just a few off the top my head, but there is plenty more to know about turtles. You might understand now, why I find these critters so intriguing. The testudine (the turtle’s scientific name) has so many incredible features that it is hard to see why I wouldn’t admire them, they are simply amazing animals. From their many striking appearances, varied shapes and sizes, and awesome special abilities. In addition to the endless knowledge I’ve accumulated about them, I simply find turtles extremely fun to watch and actually quite beautiful. I love my turtles, I’ve always jokingly called them my “kids” since I was little and since they can live more than fifty years I plan on enjoying them for many years to come. Now, you may even want to go out and find yourself a turtle too! I highly recommend it.

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I attend Lafayette High school in Saint Joseph, Missouri. I am the school editor of our online website and I enjoy doing the things that not everyone out there can do. I will cover almost anything that needs to be covered all while focusing on academics and a sport that I love, tennis. Follow me on twitter @bigMack2016 or on Facebook at Kensie Rose.

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