Turtles carry a protective shell. The upper arched part is called the carapace. The flat bottom part is called the plastron. The shell is made of horny plates or a rough leathery skin that functions like a skeleton.
Turtles have a horny beak, but they do not have teeth. Their powerful jaws and claws are used for defense. They have no external ear openings, so they do not hear well.
Turtles live all over the world. They can be found throughout the temperate and tropical regions of the world, including the major seas. Turtles live in lakes, ponds, salt marshes, rivers, forests, and even in deserts. Some spend most of the time in water like oceans, lakes, and rivers. Others are semi-aquatic and spend time in water and on land like in bogs, swamps, marshes, and the wetlands. Still other turtles spend all their time on land.
Turtles have no teeth. They use their sharp beaks to tear food into pieces that are then swallowed whole. They have good eyesight and a well-developed sense of smell and taste. This helps the turtle find food. Turtles eat living or dead plant and animal matter. Some eat worms, insects, and small animals. Some river turtles feed on clams and mussels. Jellyfish is a major part of the diet of the leatherback turtle. Many tortoises eat only living plants. Turtles store food in the form of fat, and they store water in specialized bladders..
Sea turtles go ashore to lay eggs. The nesting female digs a hole with her hind feet and drops the eggs into it. She then covers the opening and packs down the soil. The mother leaves the nest immediately. She does not take care of the eggs. The babies never see their mothers. The eggs are white. The babies have a peg on the front of their beaks to peck their way out of the eggs.
Some species of turtles lay one eggs. Other lay up to 200 eggs. Some turtles can live 50 years.