Q:

Where do turtles live?

A:

Quick Answer

Turtles inhabit virtually every terrestrial, aquatic and marine habitat in the world that is warm enough to permit activity. Turtles are residents of every continent except Antarctica and of all the world’s temperate and tropical oceans.

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Where do turtles live?
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Full Answer

The 327 living turtle species exhibit remarkable diversity, and they have colonized most available habitats. Some species live in deserts, while others live in rainforests, temperate forests, grasslands, lakes, ponds, rivers, swamps and coral reefs. Some turtles, particularly the wide-ranging sea turtles, have huge ranges that span thousands of miles. By contrast, some species inhabit only a small geographic area or a particular body of water.

Some of the areas with extraordinary diversity include the rivers, lakes and streams of the southeastern United States, the rainforests of Southeast Asia, central Africa and the Amazon basin. The Galapagos Islands are home to the largest terrestrial species, Chelonoidis nigra, while southern Africa is home to the smallest species, Homopus signatus.

Turtles may eat plants, animals or both. While most have relatively flexible diets and will concentrate on abundant prey, some turtles and tortoises specialize on a particular type of prey. For example, snapping turtles may consume ducks, plants, birds, snakes, fish, insects or other turtles, while the hawksbill turtle primarily consumes immobile animals called sponges.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How long do turtles live?

    A:

    Turtles, including tortoises and terrapins, have varying life spans depending on the species. Some live only 10 to 25 years, while others live for over 150 years. The oldest recorded turtle is Harriet the Turtle, who died at 175 years old in 2006.

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  • Q:

    How long do painted turtles live?

    A:

    A painted turtle can live for around 20 years in the wild, or it can live for 30 years or more in captivity. Turtles are very well known for having long lifespans, and painted turtles are no exception.

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  • Q:

    Where do painted turtles live?

    A:

    Painted turtles have a large natural range, encompassing much of North America, from southern Canada to northern Mexico, although they're absent from most of the southwestern United States. Additionally, humans have introduced painted turtles to locations outside of their natural range, including Spain, Germany, the Philippines and Indonesia. Painted turtles usually inhabit quiet freshwater lakes and ponds with soft muddy bottoms and an abundance of aquatic plant life.

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  • Q:

    Where do land turtles live?

    A:

    Terrestrial turtles, called tortoises, live on all continents except for Australia and Antarctica and inhabit many islands. Tortoises are found in a wide array of environments, including deserts and tropical rain forests. Most tortoises are herbivorous and have a diet consisting of leaves, fruits and flowers.

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