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Is a Turtle a Reptile?

Is a Turtle a Reptile?

Turtles may have crossed your mind if you're considering a new pet. You might have questions about their care and what type of animal they are. Today, our Jackson vets will answer whether turtles are reptiles or amphibians and if they are suitable pets for families.

Is a Turtle a Reptile or an Amphibian?

A turtle is a reptile that can live in either saltwater or freshwater. The term "turtle" includes any reptile from the order of Testudines, which can also live on land. This group used to be called Chelonia, and all members of this group are referred to as chelonians.

Turtles are classified as reptiles because they have four legs, a cold-blooded metabolism, and scales covering their body. Unlike amphibians, turtles have a tough shell that protects them. They breathe using their lungs, just like other reptiles such as crocodiles, snakes, lizards, and the Tuatara.

What is it About a Turtle That Makes it a Reptile?

Refer to the following chart to find out what exactly makes a turtle a reptile and not an amphibian.



This class includes animals that dwell on land (snakes, lizards, tortoises); mostly in water (turtles); and on both land and water (crocodiles and alligators). There is no such thing as an immature (larval) aquatic stage in reptiles.

Frogs, toads, newts, salamanders, and caecilians are members of this class; they typically have an aquatic larval stage (e.g., tadpole) followed by a terrestrial adult stage.
Breathe Using the lungs Breathe using gills at the larval stage and with the lungs during adulthood
Have dry, scaly skin Have smooth skin. Adults also use the skin as a secondary breathing organ.
Lay their eggs on land. These eggs have shells Normally lay eggs in water. A gelatinous covering surrounds these eggs.

What Animals are Classified as Turtles?

There are three kinds of 'turtles': turtles, tortoises, and terrapins. They differ in where they live. Turtles like water, tortoises prefer land, and terrapins divide their time equally between the two.

To be considered a turtle, an animal must be cold-blooded, have no teeth, four legs, and a bony shell. The shell is the most important feature of a turtle, as it covers the top and bottom of their body and forms a skeleton box.

Turtles can be found all over the world, except for Antarctica. They come in many sizes, ranging from four inches to four feet.

Are Turtles a Good Idea for a Children's Pet?

Turtles can be great pets for kids, but they might not be the best choice for your family. They are fun to watch and require less upkeep than dogs or cats.

However, they can be expensive because they need special care to stay healthy. To take care of a turtle, you'll need a large terrarium that can hold both water and land.

You'll also need to clean it every day. You'll also need to feed your turtle calcium-rich food to keep its shell strong. If you have more questions about turtles as pets, talk to our Jackson exotic pet vets.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If are thinking about getting a pet turtle but would like to learn more about their care, please contact our Jackson vets.

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North Madison Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of all companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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