Reptiles are fascinating creatures that can be found in a variety of habitats around the world. They’re usually cold-blooded, scaly reptiles with long tails and forked tongues. For those who want to learn more about these small, scaly reptiles – read on! This article will discuss some of the best turtles for kids to study up on, close and personal, as well as give you a fun FREE printable reptile activities post.
This article is all about reptiles for kids. These fascinating creatures can be found in a variety of habitats around the world and are usually cold-blooded, scaly reptiles with long tails and forked tongues. This post will discuss some of the best reptile units for kids to study up close and personal.
Reptiles for Kids: Small Scaly Creatures to Study
While I have a free printable reptile unit for you – I want to talk about common turtle species today! Why? Because they are unique reptiles and cool!
– When turtles feel threatened, they withdraw into their shells by bending inwards at the waist and pulling up its head, legs, tail with the plastron (bottom part of shell) closing shut to protect them from predators. This is called “turtleing
Common Turtle Species
Turtles are cold-blooded reptiles. They have a shell making them unique from other reptiles that covers their back and belly. Their upper shell is called the carapace, and a lower shell that protects the belly called the plastron. The carapace and plastron shape and color vary from species to species. One might think it would at least always be a hard shell, which also is untrue. There are softshell turtle species, along with many others.
Wood turtles are one of the most well-known turtle species, and have a beautiful brown carapace with orange stripes. They live throughout North America east of the Rocky Mountains and also in Central America. They are some of the largest turtles you see.
The wood turtle is omnivorous and eats things like algae, moss, blueberries, mollusks, insects, earthworms, and mice. Typically adult males are larger than adult females, but not by a whole lot.
Loggerhead turtles typically measure about three feet long as adults; they can weigh as much as 200 pounds! They live in the temperate and tropical waters of every continent except for Antarctica. The loggerhead turtle is carnivorous, eating things like fish, crabs, clams, other invertebrates, jellyfish, and even small birds!
The loggerhead’s shell develops a characteristic pattern as they grow; it starts out with large blotches on their head and neck, with the blotches then following down to their sides and back.
The hawksbill turtle is omnivorous, eating things like algae, seagrass leaves, plants from mangroves or tidal marshes (the hawksbill’s favorite food!), sea urchins and other invertebrates, crabs, and small fish.
The hawksbill’s shell has an asymmetrical shape with a pointed end, which is why they are called “tortoiseshell” turtles!
Green Sea Turtle
Sea turtles eat seaweed (algae), seagrass leaves, jellyfish, sponges, oysters, clams, and crustaceans.
The green sea turtle is the only species of sea turtles that are found exclusively in warm waters, such as those near Hawaii! How is that for a reptile?
African Spurred Tortoise
The African Spurred Tortoise is the only tortoise in the world that has adapted fully for terrestrial life. That means they live only on land. The turtle is famous for digging burrows to protect itself from predators and the temperature. This turtle can go weeks without food or water. When the turtle does get a chance to drink water though, it can drink up to 15% of its body weight.
This turtle is a medium to a large sea turtle that has a broad, low, heart-shaped carapace.
Green turtles are found throughout the oceans of the world. Populations are endangered or threatened everywhere.
Most of their lives are spent in the water but females return to the land to lay their eggs. The eggs take about two months to incubate, and then hatch. As most turtles are, green turtles possess environmental sex determination. The temperature of the nest determines the sex of the hatchling. Warmer temperatures produce females, and cooler temperatures produce males.
The Blandings turtle is a northern turtle that has a black carapace with tan to yellow spots on the scutes. Sometimes this turtle is confused with the box turtle because of similar appearances. This turtle lives in clean, shallow water habitats. In Wisconsin, the Blandings turtle prefers marshes over ponds, which is just a location preference. Turtles elsewhere may choose a pond over a marsh.
This is a small, black turtle that has a pattern on its smooth carapace with small yellow spots. Over time the spots may fade, making older turtles appear spotless.
This turtle is a temporary resident of Wisconsin and other northern areas. It lives in water with vegetation on the bottom, such as shallow ponds, lakes or streams that do not flow too fast. The habitat includes wetlands without fish populations where it can find plenty of food.
Male spotted turtles tend to have tan chins with brown eyes differing from the females who tend to have yellow chins and orange eyes.
This reptile is a small to medium size turtle which feeds on sponges, bryozoans, gastropods, crabs, carrion, and plant material.
They have a hingeless plastron which can be yellow to green or black, and an oblong carapace is gray, light brown, or black. They can be found in estuaries and salt marshes.
Nesting for these turtles is different from a majority of turtles because it is during the day. Most turtles tend to nest during the night. High tide is the most usual time for this particular turtle to nest.
Red Eared Slider
The red-eared slider is native to the United States. It is commonly found in the Southern regions.
They are medium size turtles and have a dark green oval shell. Their legs are green with think yellow stripes. The head is also green, but it has a red stripe behind the eye.
These turtles are found in most permanent slow-moving bodies of water. They prefer areas with mud bottoms.
This particular species of turtle has been hit the hardest by humans because it is very popular in the pet trade.
How long can a turtle live?
A turtle’s life span varies depending on the species. The red-eared slider, for example, can live up to 30 years in captivity.
So, now that you know how cool turtles are – you need to make sure you look for them the next time you are at the zoo. There are many reptiles that you could study if you come across them at a zoo or your backyard!