What name do you use for your turtle/tortoise/terrapin - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
View Poll Results: What name do you use?
Tortoise, turtle or terrapin 6 60.00%
Just turtles 2 20.00%
Just terrapins 0 0%
Just tortoises 2 20.00%
Voters: 10. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-01-2004, 02:19 AM Thread Starter
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What name do you use for your turtle/tortoise/terrapin

Many people see to use diferent names like people will class them all as turtles or tortoises and i wish to find out the most common.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-01-2004, 10:32 AM
 
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After reading your poll, I decided to do some research and discovered that turtles are any reptile that lives in a shell. Tortoises are turtles that use water for drinking or bathing, but do not live in water. Terrapins are turtles that live primarily in water. Thanks for sparking my interest.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-01-2004, 11:00 AM
 
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I do separate turtles and tortoises and I also care for three Diamondback Terrapins so I call them all three names but the use of terrapin is just because I have some that go specifically by that name
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-01-2004, 12:22 PM
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The words are often misused - and misdefined, especially terrapin. Which is a specific group of species that tend to prefer brackish water. And then when people refer to box turtles as tortoises I want to strangle someone. All tortoises are turtles, not all turtles are tortoises. Same goes for terrapins. I wrote up a little thing with pictures showing the differences in body structure a while ago... maybe I need to dig that up.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-01-2004, 10:15 PM
 
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"Terrapin" is used differently depending on what part of the world you live in. So ... depending on where you live you might refer to all aquatic turtles as terrapins. But here in the States we only use it for turtles who prefer brackish waters (like Rav said).

When I'm around other people I tend to refer to them all as turts or torts. When I'm talking to family everybody in my gang is a turtle .. just because it is a lot easier to say.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-01-2004, 10:25 PM
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Box turtles are also often incorrectly referred to as terrapins because of the genus they are in, which is Terrapene.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-02-2004, 12:55 AM
 
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I used to call the one I had Fred...
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-03-2004, 07:08 AM Thread Starter
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I always had the idea that terrapind were fresh water and turtles brackfish.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-06-2004, 10:37 PM
 
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It really depends on where you live, Jon, but if you live in America the correct terms are generally thought to be as Rav described them.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-07-2004, 11:21 AM
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Here's a blurb I wrote for another forum about a year ago, with some additions:

So what -is- the difference between a tortoise and a turtle anyway? Well, to be technical, tortoises belong to their own group within the order of Testudines (turtles) called Testudinidae. To get less scientific, the difference is largely in how and where they live and how they have adapted to that environment.

Tortoises are strictly terrestrial, and in general have adapted a larger, more domed shell. Their limbs are specialized for digging and pushing.

Sulcata tortoise front leg. Very strong and well armored.

Sulcata tortoise rear leg - notice the almost elephant-style foot.

The distinction between water turtles and box turtles is a little more confusing. Box turtles are members of the group Emydidae, which also includes most fresh water turtles like sliders, cooters, painteds, as well as terrapins. Box turtles are terrestrial and have a domed shell. Their front feet more adapted to digging, though sometimes found near water, they don't generally spend time in water - though they can swim.


Box turtle, notice the long claws and strong front legs.

Aquatic (or mostly aquatic in the majority of cases) turtles have webbed feet - and while they can have long claws sometimes and can walk just fine on land are obviously more suited to swimming. Their shells tend to be flatter than their terrestrial cousins.


The front foot of a female red-eared slider. Note the webbing between the toes.

The only real distinction that makes terrapins different is that they live in brackish (somewhat salty) water. Their body structure is very similar to other aquatic/semi-aquatic members of the group Emydidae. They tend to be strikingly marked and are on the brink of extinction because of their desire in the food market. Apparently they taste good.

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-07-2004, 11:22 AM
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Other groups of turtles include softshelled turtles, which are pretty distinctive with their leathery shells - which are aquatic.


Mud and musk turtles, small aquatic turtles with domed shells that often have a central ridge. I suppose someone could mix them up with a box turtle, but they are pretty good swimmers and are rarely found out of the water. They do have webbed feet though, which makes them easily distinguishable.


Theres an interesting group of old world turtles known as side necks. They are aquatic turtles which are unable to actually pull their heads into their shells like most turtles we are aware of, instead, they turn it to the side - or in some cases its so long they wind it up, like this Australian snake neck.


And lastly, sea turtles... which don't have feet at all, but have flippers. Only time they're found outside the ocean is when they are laying eggs so are pretty easy to tell from the other groups. I don't have any pics of those, unfortunately - but if you do a Google search theres lots of stuff on them out there.

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-07-2004, 03:05 PM
 
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I have 2 cumberland sliders that I usually just call turtles or aquatic turtles
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-07-2004, 03:10 PM
 
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Are common snappers considered terrapins? Are alligator snappers?
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-07-2004, 04:46 PM
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Cumberland slider would be a turtle, they are fresh water. Both species of snappers are turtles, again generally fresh water species. I guess I skipped over them in my list of types.

There are two species of snapping turtle, the common snapper and the alligator snapper. Common snappers get to about 15 inches or so, and are quite massive for their size being around 30 pounds or more. Alligator snappers are even larger, easily attaining a size of 24" with a weight of 175lbs or more. The largest alligator snapper on record is a 236 pounder which is probably 32 or so inches in length.

Alligator Snapper



Common Snapper



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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-07-2004, 05:59 PM
 
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I just want to point this out about the box turtle though ... you said they can swim ... for this forum it would perhaps be best to note that this does not mean that they are aquatic.

Asian box turtles live a somewhat aquatic lifestyle but if you see an American box turtle in the wild please do not throw it in the lake or anything like that thinking that it will be thirsty ... they would only sink straight to the bottom and likely drown ... American box turtles have varying degrees of humidity requirements that they sometimes fulfill by soaking but by no means will you find them swimming downstream in a river!

I know you know that, Rav! But some people on this forum likely don't and it could be misunderstood.
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