The Different Types of Turtles

There are hundreds of different types of turtles. This article aims to give you a brief overview of the different types of turtles. Here is a short list of some of the types of turtles:

The Pig-Nosed Turtle

This type of turtle has been called the Australasian Pig-nose turtle, the pitted shelled turtle, the plateless turtle, and even the fly river turtle. This kind of turtle is soft-shelled and is usually found in freshwater rivers, lagoons, and streams in Australia’s Northern Territory and in New Guinea.

The Sea Turtle

This family of turtles is rather large and can be found in most subtropical and tropical areas in the world. It has two very distinct populations in the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. This is an endangered species and it is illegal to harm, kill or collect them.

The green sea turtle can boast of being the biggest of the sea turtles that have hard shells. They can grow to sizes of over three feet and can weigh as much as 350 pounds. In relation to their bodies, their heads seem small but they are visually appealing turtles with markings around the eyes and face. Their shells can be one of a variety of colors such as yellow, gray, green, black, or brown.

The other three types of turtles that can be found plying the United States coastline are the Hawksbill sea turtle, Olive ridley sea turtle, and Kemp’s ridley sea turtle. This species may be gone soon if conservation efforts fail them, and we as a society will lose another species to our blatant disregard for our fellow global creatures.

The population of the green sea turtle has drastically diminished in the last century. The reason behind this is believed to be the harvesting of their eggs, the capture of adults as they forage for food in waters along the coast as a delicacy for human consumption, and getting entangled in commercial fishing gear.

Green Sea Turtle

The Snapping Turtle

There are just three species in this family of turtles. They can be found throughout North America, in the southeastern regions of Asia and in South America, to the north. These kinds of turtles all have big heads and a strong jaw with the upper jaw being hooked. They cannot fully retract their limbs or head into their shell and have fairly long tails. These kinds of turtles have been roaming the earth for 65 million years. They have quite a diverse habitat as well as mating habits and diet.

The Alligator Snapping Turtle is the biggest freshwater turtle on the continent of North America. It is larger than but not quite as aggressive as the common snapping turtle. These turtles are often found in the Missouri River and in South Carolina and the northern areas of Florida. This kind of turtle can stay under water for almost an hour.

Pond Turtles

This is the largest group of turtles and can be found all over the world. Some species of pond turtles are carnivores while others are herbivores. They have many predators such as alligators and raccoons. These species are typically the kinds of turtles that are used in the pet trade.


These kinds of turtles can boast the distinction of being the largest turtles that live on land. Tortoises feed on flowers, grasses and fruits though they have been known to feast on carrion. Typically, tortoises have heavy scales and feet that are not webbed. Their closest relatives are the pond turtles.

Softshell Turtles

These kinds of turtles can live in many types of waters with a soft bottom being required. Their shells are not hard, but instead are covered with a leather-like skin. They spend most of their time buried in mud. They can be omnivorous but most species are carnivores feeding on mollusks, insects, amphibians and fish.

The Mesoamerican River Turtle

Sometimes this type of turtle is called the hickatee or the tortuga-blaca. This turtle is nocturnal and lives in the lakes and rivers of Central America. Like many other species of turtles, this species is endangered. These turtles can get as big as twenty five inches and can weigh up to forty four pounds.

The Leatherback Turtle

Of all of the types of turtle, this turtle is the largest of them all. The leatherback is a sea turtle and is the only species of turtle that does not have a hard shell. Instead it only has flesh and skin. This kind of turtle can be found all over the world.

These types of turtles are the giants of the sea weighing in at up to 1100 pounds and can reach lengths of nearly six feet. The shell of the leatherback is not hard like other turtles; instead they have a leather-like, rubbery consistency. A male can be distinguished from the female by his long, broad tail. This tail extends far beyond his carapace.

Their favorite type of food is jellyfish and they find themselves on the endangered list because human pollution has contributed to their demise. They may mistake plastic bags for their prey and can become ill from the consumption of these man-made products. The loss of nesting sites contributes to their standing as well as harvesting of eggs, and again getting tangled in the gear used for commercial fishing.

Loggerhead Sea Turtles

Another of the different types of turtles that are threatened is the loggerhead sea turtle. Though he is one of the more abundant of the sea turtles, he still faces many risks and dangers. The biggest problems facing the loggerhead are entanglement in commercial gear for fishing and the loss of many of their nesting sites.

Loggerhead sea turtles have big heads and the carapace can grow up to 3 ½ feet in length. Loggerheads can weigh as much as 400 pounds. Their coloring may be reddish brown or yellow in hue. They are carnivores and often feast on mollusks, crustaceans and other types of invertebrates

The Red Eared Slider Turtle

This turtle is known as a semi-aquatic turtle and is usually found in the southern area of the United States, particularly in the Mississippi River. Of course, because it makes a very popular pet, it can be found in pet stores all over the world.

The Common Musk Turtle

This type of turtle has also been called The Stinkpot. It got its name because it is able to release a musky and foul odor to dissuade any predators that might think of hunting it. These turtles are found in the Eastern United States and Southeastern Canada.

The Big Headed Turtle

This is one of the types of turtles that is usually found in Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and China. It’s head is extremely large and it has been known to climb the trees that are near the rivers and streams where it lives It has also been known to arc its tail (like a scorpion) and is one of the different types of turtles that is unable to pull its head into its shell.

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