How much do you know about turtles?

Turtle looking at camera
Photo: Robert Eastman/Shutterstock

They are found all over the world including the wide open sea. How much do you know about these ancient shelled reptiles?

Question 1 of 19

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turtle shell underside
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The top section of a turtle's shell is called a carapace. The bottom section is called:

The bottom half of the shell is a plastron, a nearly flat portion of the turtle's exoskeleton. It is made up of nine bones, and in some species, the sex of the turtle can be discovered based on if the plastron is concave (male) or convex (female).

Question 2 of 19

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A tortoise is a turtle that:

All tortoises are turtles, but not all turtles are tortoises. Tortoises belong to the order Chelonii and have several features that set them apart from other turtles, including living in typically warm, dry areas and lacking webbed toes, which makes sense since they stick to dry land.

Question 3 of 19

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radiated tortoise
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The radiated tortoise is native to:

This species is native to southern Madagascar and like many tortoise species, can live to an impressive age. The oldest individual of this species on record lived to be 188 years old. Despite the species' longevity, poaching and habitat destruction have pushed the creature to critically endangered status.

Question 4 of 19

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How long have turtles been on Earth?

Turtles have existed for somewhere around 220 million years. The oldest turtle fossil found was uncovered in 2007 in China’s Guizhou province.

Question 5 of 19

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group of turtles
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A group of tortoises is called a creep. A group of turtles is called:

A group of turtles goes by many names, so you can choose whichever you like best — though a "dole" is the most commonly used.

Question 6 of 19

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alligator snapping turtle
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This turtle species is equipped with a worm-like appendage on its tongue, used to lure prey:

There are many strange things about the alligator snapping turtle, but one of the most interesting is how it lures in prey. The inside of the turtle's mouth is camouflaged, except for a reddish-pink fleshy lure, which the turtle wiggles to look like a worm. When a fish swimming by comes in for a closer look, the turtle snaps its mouth shut with incredible speed and force.

Question 7 of 19

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sizes of turtles
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What is the largest species of turtle?

The leatherback sea turtle can grow to be 7 feet long and weigh as much as 2,000 pounds. It is not only the largest of the turtles but also the fourth heaviest reptile, after three crocodile species.

Question 8 of 19

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soft-shelled turtle
Photo: Wikipedia
This unusual turtle species is called:

The Cantor's giant softshell turtle can grow to a whopping 6 feet long. Its flat shape is helpful, as it spends about 95 percent of its time buried in the mud at the bottom of rivers and streams, waiting for prey to pass by. It only has to surface to breathe twice a day!

Question 9 of 19

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jonathan the tortoise
Photo: Wikipedia
Jonathan is a living tortoise born in the year:

Jonathan is a living example of the extraordinary lifespan of tortoises. He is a Seychelles giant tortoise currently living on the island of Saint Helena. He was brought to Saint Helena from the Seychelles in 1882 when he was estimated to be about 50 years old. He might now be the oldest living reptile on Earth. However, he still has a few years to go before he earns a record. The oldest tortoise on record is a radiated tortoise named Tui Malila, who was 189 when she died in 1965.

Question 10 of 19

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cory at australia zoo
Photo: Wikipedia
Steve Irwin and this other famous person both cared for the same Galapagos tortoise:

A Galapagos tortoise named Harriet was collected by Charles Darwin in 1835 and eventually ended up at the Australian zoo founded by Steve Irwin's parents. (At least, she is reportedly the same tortoise, but that's not indisputably confirmed.) She died in 2006 at the age of 176.

Question 11 of 19

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Photo: Wikipedia
What is the smallest species of turtle?

The prize for smallest turtle goes to the speckled padloper tortoise. The males grow to only around 2.4-3.1 inches and the females grow to a mere 3.9 inches, and they weigh only about 3.4-5.8 ounces.

Question 12 of 19

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sea turtle
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How many species of sea turtle are there?

The seven species of sea turtle include the leatherback sea turtle, green sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, Kemp's ridley sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, flatback sea turtle and olive ridley sea turtle. All but the flatback sea turtle can be found in U.S. waters. Six of the seven species are vulnerable to extinction with four of them listed as critically endangered or endangered.

Question 13 of 19

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lonesome george
Photo: Wikipedia
Lonesome George was a:

Lonesome George was the last known Pinta Island tortoise, making him the rarest creature in the world when he was alive. A few months after George died in 2012, researchers reported finding 17 tortoises that are partially descended from Pinta Island tortoises, which means there is hope that some element of the subspecies is alive somewhere.

Question 14 of 19

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turtle shell
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The shells of turtles are sensitive to touch.

Though it seems like just a hard, protective surface, the shell of a turtle has nerve endings under the surface. This means a turtle can feel when something is touching its shell.

Question 15 of 19

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turtle long-necked
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Which species of turtle is this?

The Roti Island snake-necked turtle has an extraordinarily long neck. Its shell can reach between 7-9 inches, and its neck can be equally long. Unfortunately, the unique look makes it one of the most sought-after turtles in the pet trade, which has caused it to become critically endangered. Continued collection for the pet trade may mean the extinction of the species.

Question 16 of 19

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sea turtle on sand
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How many species of turtles exist worldwide?

There is, of course, some debate over exact numbers, since new species are being discovered, endangered species are going extinct, and the exact classification of various species are continually debated. But there's somewhere around 300 or so species around the world.

Question 17 of 19

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galapagos tortoise
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Turtles are among the world's most endangered vertebrates.

Around half of the 300 or more species of turtles are threatened with extinction, making them among the world's most endangered vertebrates, more at risk than birds, mammals or even amphibians. Threats come from many angles including collection for the pet trade, poaching, habitat destruction, pollution and more.

Question 18 of 19

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Some turtle species are known as "side-necked turtles" because:

Not all turtles pull their heads backwards into their shells. Some species wrap them around to the side to protect them. Side-necked turtles are all aquatic.

Question 19 of 19

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baby sea turtle
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The fastest species of turtle is the:

Leatherbacks not only take the record for size but also for speed. The fastest speed of any reptile was the 22 mile-per-hour flight of a frightened Pacific leatherback turtle as it fled from a predator.

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