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Turtles as Pets: Important Issues
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.
Getting a pet is always a very important decision and one that should be made only when you are aware of what having this pet will entail. What type of turtle, sources of turtles, and estimates of the time and money it will take to properly care for the turtle are all important considerations. But before you go out and buy a turtle, you need to ask yourself some very important questions.
Rate:  (3.8)
African Spurred Tortoise (Geochelone sulcata)
The African Spurred Tortoise (Geochelone sulcata) is a species of tortoise which inhabits the southern edge of the Sahara desert, in northern Africa. Their diet provides them with water, and they coat their skin with mud when available to cool off. When mud wallows are not available, they retreat to cooler burrows. Spurred tortoises are important to deserts because their burrows provide shelter for other animals. They do not hibernate, like many other types of tortoises, due to their natural environment being so close to the equator. They love to dig, and make very long burrows, often much dam...
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Tortoises and Turtles
A variety of Australian freshwater turtles share an enclosure with three enormous Aldabra land tortoises at the Australia Zoo. The zoo has four species of freshwater turtle: Brisbane short-necked turtles, saw-shelled turtles, long-necked turtles and broad-shelled turtles. They have many characteristics in common; for example, they all live along the east coast of Australia and feed mainly on insects, crustaceans and fish.
Rate:  (4.5)
Radiated Tortoise (Geochelone radiata)
Order: Testudines, Family: Testudinidae
Ethiopian: Geochelone radiata only occur naturally in the extreme southern and southwestern part of the island of Madagascar. G. radiata have also been introduced to the nearby island of Reunion.
Rate:  (3.2)
Olive Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea)
Order: Testudines, Family: Cheloniidae
The Olive Ridley sea turtle can weigh as much as 100 pounds and measure 30 inches long. Name for its olive-colored skin, the Olive Ridley has a heart-shaped carapace, or upper shell. The shell is also olive in color, and is rather thin compared to those of other turtle species. What distinguishes the male Olive Ridley from the female is that the male's tail extends past his carapace. The Olive Ridley has two claws on each of its four limbs.
Rate:  (3.3)
Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
Order: Testudines, Family: Dermochelyidae
The largest of all reptiles, the leatherback sea turtle may reach 7 feet in length and weigh as much as 1,400 pounds. It measures 9 feet from the tip of one flipper to the tip of the other. Leatherbacks are the only turtles to have a thick layer of fat for insulation. They also have no visible shell. The shell is present but consists of bones buried into the turtle's dark brown or black skin. The leatherback has seven pronounced ridges in its back and five on the underside.
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Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
Order: Testudines, Family: Cheloniidae
The hawksbill sea turtle is the only sea turtle with overlapping scales. They have two pairs of prefrontal plates between their eyes. The hawksbills shell varies in color, from black-brown, red-brown to yellow. Their undersides are usually white or yellow. Adults are about 24 to 38 inches in length and weigh anywhere from 60 to 190 pounds.
Rate:  (3.4)
Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Order: Chelonia, Family: Cheloniidae
Green turtles have a single pair of scales in front of their eyes rather than two pairs like other sea turtles have. The green turtle is the largest hard-shelled sea turtle; adults commonly grow over 3 feet in length and weigh over 300 pounds. Green turtles are outfitted with large, heart-shaped shells covered with horny plates. The shells are black, gray or brown (not green) the green turtle gets its name from the green color of fat underneath its shell.
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Harriet - giant Galápagos land tortoise
At 172 years of age, Harriet the giant Galápagos land tortoise is the oldest known living creature on Earth. Born in November 1830 on an island in the Galápagos, Harriet spent the earliest years of her life in the wild. In 1835, when Harriet was only 5 years old and about the size of a dinner plate, noted English naturalist Charles Darwin landed on Isla Santa Cruz, her home. Shortly thereafter, Harriet and two of her friends found themselves aboard the HMS Beagle headed for England, marked as subjects of scientific research.
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Two-headed turtle found in Cuba
A policeman has made an unusual discovery near a river in Cuba - a turtle with two heads. The tiny turtle is thought to be around a week old and was found near one of the country's most contaminated rivers. Had it not been noticed in a pile of leaves by Officer Alexander Napoles the turtle may have died, but now it has been taken to a local aquarium. At the moment it is healthy and being looked after, and experts are keeping a close eye on its progress. Alexis Fernandez, a biologist from the National Aquarium of Cuba, said: "It is an animal that is at a disadvantage or that...
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Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macroclemys temminckii)
Order: Testudines, Family: Chelydridae
Nearctic: Alligator snapping turtles are native to the southeastern region of the United States. They are confined to the river systems that drain into the Gulf of Mexico.
Rate:  (4.1)