World Turtle Day is a holiday that celebrates turtles and tortoises and raises awareness of the issues they face. Disappearing habitats and littering have greatly affected the number of turtles in the world. It is important to take some steps towards protecting the land and the oceans where turtles live and trying to reduce littering. The holiday was started by American Tortoise Rescue (ATR) in 2000. It has been celebrated all around the world ever since. You can celebrate this holiday by donating to ATR to help them rescue more turtles and tortoises or learning about other things you can do to help turtles around the world.
Turtle vs Tortoise
Both are air breathing reptiles, with a protective shell on both sides of their bodies called a carapace (upper) and plastron (lower). However, there are a few slight differences - turtles dwell in the ocean and are omnivores, whereas tortoises dwell on land and are herbivores. Their lifespans are quite different also, tortoises tend to live 80-150 years and turtles 20-40 years. Also, the way they both lay eggs/birth are very different. Tortoise hatchlings move from their nest to the mothers burrow soon after birth. Turtle hatchlings stay in their nest on their own for 90-120 days.
Facts about Turtles and Tortoises
The earliest known turtles are from the Permian Period
The turtle’s ancestors possessed teeth whereas present day turtles and tortoises are toothless.
There are so many different types of turtles, but there are some that are even called the mud turtle and the chicken turtle.
A tortoise is a turtle, but a turtle isn't a tortoise.
Tortoises can't swim, but tortoises can hold their breath for a long time.
A group of tortoises is called a creep.
World turtle day is a day about bringing awareness to turtles and tortoises and the issues they face with the changes that are occurring environmentally on a global scale, and how we can help.
These animals are the oldest living animals on Earth and have nearly been unchanged for millions of years. However, they face many challenges, such lack of nesting areas due to land development, encounters with pollutants and marine and land debris, and international trade in turtle meat and products.
American Tortoise Rescue
American Tortoise Rescue, a nonprofit organization established in 1990 for the protection of all species of tortoise and turtle, sponsors World Turtle Day. The day was created as an annual observance to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world.
Susan Tellem and Marshall Thompson, founders of ATR, advocate humane treatment of all animals, including reptiles. Since 1990, ATR has placed about 4,000 tortoises and turtles in caring homes. ATR assists law enforcement when undersize or endangered turtles are confiscated and provides helpful information and referrals to persons with sick, neglected or abandoned turtles.
Tips To Help Support World Turtle Day
Never Buy turtles or tortoises from a pet shop.
Never Remove turtles or tortoises from the wild unless they are sick or injured.
Emergency Care - if you see a turtle or tortoise crossing a busy street pick it up and put it in the same direction it was going.
Report Cruelty to your local animal shelters or animal control about any cruelty or illegal sales of turtles or tortoises.
Write Letters to government officials in your state about keeping turtle and tortoise habitats preserved or closed to off road vehicles, and to prevent offshore drilling that can lead to more endangered sea turtles and tortoises death.
Ways to Celebrate
Tweet and share pictures #Shellebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats on #WorldTurtleDay. Get involved in the cause - beach clean ups, turtle and tortoise rescues.