A turtle is easily recognized by the hard, distinctive shell that protects its body. These ancient, long-lived reptiles are often associated with patience and wisdom. Where do turtles live? Turtles are found on every continent except Antarctica, and in warm, temperate seas throughout the world.
Aquatic turtles spend most of their lives in the water. Sea turtles live exclusively in water, and have webbed feet for swimming. Sea turtles only leave the ocean to lay eggs on shore. Other aquatic turtles live in fresh water such as ponds or lakes. These turtles climb out of the water onto banks, logs or rocks to bask in the sun.
Semi-aquatic turtles spend time both in water and on land. These turtles are found near rivers, streams, ponds or lakes. Swamps and marshes are common turtle habitats.
Land turtles inhabit all continents and a few islands. The most famous land turtle is the Galapagos tortoise found on the Galapagos Islands off of South America. This giant turtle can live to be up to 150 years old, and can weigh more than 500 pounds. Other land turtles live in deserts, cool mountain regions, grasslands and woodlands.
With so much diversity in turtle habitats, what do turtles eat? Most turtles are omnivores, eating both plants and animals. Turtles may eat fish, snails, worms or insects. Some turtles are strictly herbivores, eating only grasses, leafy plants, fruits, flowers or cactus.