World Turtle Day is celebrated every year on May 23 to spread awareness among humans to help turtles survive and thrive in their natural habitat. The special day was founded by the American Tortoise Rescue in 1990.
Every year, people dress up as turtles to spread awareness regarding this species on this day. People also organise rescue operations from highways and roads and return rescued turtles and tortoises to their natural environment.
To mark World Turtle Day 2021, we have put together some of the most interesting and lesser-known facts about turtles that you might not have known.
They belong to the Jurassic era
It is known that turtles are one of the oldest reptiles, but not many know that their origin dates back to nearly 200 million years ago, which is during the middle Jurassic era.
There are over 300 species of turtles
A total of 300 species of turtles exist on this planet, out of which 129 are endangered species because of human activities. Turtles can be of all shapes and sizes, such as the bog turtle which can be as small as 4-inches, and then the Leatherback sea turtle which can weigh over 1000 pounds and 8 feet long.
The shell is not an exoskeleton
Many believe that the shell of a turtle is an exoskeleton. However, it is actually their ribcage and spine. Just like a human skeleton, the shell grows with its age and is made of around 50 bones.
They actually have two shells
Not many know, but turtles have two shells. One which is visible on top, known as the carapace. The other is below the body of a turtle, known as a plastron, which joins the upper shell along both sides of the body creating a skeletal box.
Turtles are not the calmest species
People believe turtles are one of the calmest species on Earth, however, they are not. They are as loud as cats or dogs, and the range of their noise can be anything from dog-like barking to chicken like clucks, depending on their species.
An interesting fact about female turtles
Female turtles can store sperm in their bodies for up to four years after mating.
Turtles are bad at parenting
Turtles leave their babies alone after laying their eggs and do not nurture them. The hatchlings make their own way into the sea after hatching.