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Turtle, Tortoise or Terrapin?



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hi there I'm here today to handle a

question that is a harder question than

you might realize it is and that is what

is the difference between a turtle and a

tortoise I think a lot of people think

that they know the answer to this

question but what I have discovered

recently is that very few people that

think they know the answer to this

question actually know the answer to

this question and and that can partially

be illustrated by the fact that I have

here two shelled reptiles and they look

very much alike and they live very

similarly but only one of them is

actually a tortoise and so understanding

the real differences between tortoises

and other turtles is maybe not as

straightforward as you think I want to

start off by saying that all shelled

reptiles so any reptile with a shell

like this that can like tuck its limbs

inside of its ribcage which is a weird

thing to be able to do no no other

creatures can do this any reptile that

can do this is a turtle unless of course

you only consider sea turtles to be

turtles in that case they're all chalo

nians

or they're all tested inés or you can

use these other words I'm gonna use a

word turtle okay

so they're all turtles every single one

of them there are some real big groups

of turtles so there are two big lineages

I'm gonna set this guy down for a second

so I can show you these two turtles and

this turtle here is a side necked

turtle and you can see he's a little bit

scared and so he pulls his head into his

shell sideways he's a side necked turtle

that is one lineage of turtles there's

another lineage of turtles like this

turtle here this is Shelley and they're

called the hidden neck Turtles and you

see when she gets scared she pulls her

head back in straight and her neck is

hidden or is it the side neck turtle I

can still see his neck because it's

tucked off to the side

these are the two big groups of turtles

all hidden neck turtles are more closely

related to each other than they are to

the side neck turtles some people talk

about a group of turtles called

Terrapins and Terrapins include some

members of this group and some members

of this group but not all of the members

of either group and that's complete

garbage they're not each other's closest

relatives at all and the only thing that

they have in common is that they live in

the water and the problem with building

a group that is total garbage and it's

not based on how they're related to each

other is we don't know anything else

about them if you know that it's a

Terrapin all you know about it is that

it's a turtle that lives in the water at

the end that's all you know but if you

know how they related to each other you

know all kinds of cool things about them

these two turtles and it's not that

shocking because they look fairly

similar but there are members of this

group that looked a lot more like that

turtle than they do like these turtles

but all the same all of the hidden

nectar it also more closely related to

each other than they are to any side

neck Turtles anywhere there are many

kinds of head and neck Turtles and among

them are tortoises okay so not all the

hidden neck turtles are tortoises but

some of them are and tortoises are a

unique group and when I've heard people

explain to me what is the difference

between a tortoise and other turtles

most of the things that they list are

things that maybe tortoises have but

lots of other turtles have as well so I

want to share with you a couple of

things that are actually unique to this

tortoise group that will actually help

you determine which of these two turtles

is a real tortoise one thing is they've

got this kind of tortoise space they've

got this kind of short oval-shaped head

and all tortoises have that and if you

get used to looking at tortoises you can

just look at the face of a tortoise and

go is a tortoise or isn't a tortoise but

that's a little bit a little bit hard

takes a little bit of expertise so I'm

going to tell you a more surefire thing

that you can look for and that's their

feet if you watch these two Turtles walk

and both of these turtles are very good

at walking that's why I've had to hold

them the whole time you know

go Houdini go Shelly you'll notice that

they walk very differently and that's

because tortoises walk on their toes

like ballerinas they're what's called

digitigrade that means they walk on

their toes and and actually as it turns

out elephants do that as well an

elephants have kind of a big sack of fat

back behind so they can stand up on

their toes and not crush their toes

because elephants as it turns out are

heavy but these guys have elephant like

feet called elephantine feet and they

walk up on their toes digitigrade

tortoises do that other turtles are

going to walk down on their whole feet

not up on their toes and when you walk

down on your feet like that that's

called plantigrade and so if they have

these digitigrade elephant like feet

that is a tortoise if it doesn't it's

still a turtle there are all Turtles but

it's not a tortoise alright so that's

the thing that's the most important

thing if you want to know the difference

between a tortoise and turtle if you

want to tell is this a tortoise or

turtle look at the feet and now you know

as always like and subscribe and I hope

to see you real soon

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