3 Animals That Live In The Ocean And Their Habitat Explore The History of Tortoises

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Explore The History of Tortoises

We see giant tortoises at the zoo and know that many people keep tortoises as pets, even the larger breeds. When we hear about history or turtles, we seem to understand that these are incredibly ancient animals that have existed long before the humans who keep them captive and will probably be here long after we are gone. This detail alone makes the turtle such a fascinating animal to study and observe. Today, we know that they are at home on land as well as in water, for the most part. We know what they look like: stiff legs, slow movements, hard shell, etc. But what have turtles actually been through in their millions of years of existence? That’s what we’re here to find out.

Let’s start from the beginning. During evolutionary time, turtles were among the species that partially emerged from the water and went back and forth between land and sea during their evolution. Sea turtles exclusively became extinct about 200 million years ago, but traces of turtles as we know them remain. During the Triassic period, we see the turtle’s body take on its familiar shape. From here on, the body remains largely unchanged.

Although the evolution of the turtle may be easy to follow, unlike that of the snake for example, there are still missing links and the expected gigantism of most prehistoric animals during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras. Can you imagine a giant turtle wandering around, eating equally giant plants? Paleontologists can’t seem to pinpoint the exact prehistoric family from which modern turtles evolved, but they can say with confidence that they weren’t placodonts, as previously thought.

Historically, turtles have had an influence on several religions. In Hinduism, Vishnu is half-man, half-tortoise and landed at the bottom of the ocean floor after a great mythical flood. In Ancient Greece, the turtle is a symbol for the Greek God, Hermes. In Ancient China, turtle shells were used to make their predictions.

Today, you can find turtles living in different parts of the world, growing to different sizes and displaying different colors and patterns. The Galapagos Islands are home to giant tortoises and are said to have arrived there about 3 million years ago. One of the most impressive things about these turtles is their ability to survive without food or water for up to a year. Unfortunately, this could not save most of the population from imminent extinction. Whalers and hunters kept them as food on long voyages and used their oil to light lamps. Today, only about 25,000 wild turtles live on the islands. Fortunately, there are efforts to conserve these herbivores from human interference and other factors that have contributed to their decline.

In the US people are generally fond of turtles. Many see them as perfect pets as they are relatively low maintenance. They hibernate until around April, eat a regular, simple diet and don’t really need exercise or walking. Caring for a turtle usually emphasizes having the right environment and diet. They have been noted to enjoy human contact, although they are not very social animals. If kept with other turtles, they can become aggressive, but not with any major injury. They like to dig and will try to burrow under any wall or fence, so be sure to secure any fencing.

Find a turtle for sale

You can find a turtle for sale almost anywhere these days. There are popular tortoises, such as the Russian tortoise and the red-footed tortoise, available at exotic pet stores and can also be found online. Before purchasing a turtle, be sure to research the breed and its specific needs regarding lighting, temperature, and habitat. Knowing the evolution and history of turtles does not mean you know everything about modern turtles. Educate yourself on how to properly care for a turtle so you can ensure you are ready to handle the responsibility that comes with owning such an ancient animal.

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