Celebrated on November 27th
These cold-blooded creatures have an incredibly long life span. The oldest ever recorded, named Tu”i Malila, of Tonga Island, passed away at the grand old age of 188!
Turtles have been on the earth for more than 200 million years. They evolved before mammals, birds, crocodiles, snakes and even lizards.
A turtle’s shell is made of 60 separate bones connected together. Each of these bone plates is covered by what are called scutes. The scutes are similar in structure to fingernails and provide additional strength and protection. The pigment melanin is also present in scutes, which contributes to the intricate designs and colors in some species. Most land tortoises have high domed upper shells as protection against predators. Whereas, aquatic turtles often have flatter, aerodynamic shells shaped for swimming.