Ten things you never knew about... turtles
Today is World Turtle Day, highlighting the threats to a number of turtle species posed by fishing and other human activities.
Strictly speaking, all tortoises are turtles, but not all turtles are tortoises. Tortoises are land-dwelling types of turtle.
There are 244 species of turtles in the world: seven sea turtle species, 180 freshwater species, and the rest land dwellers.
In Britain, ‘turtle’ is generally used for saltwater species, terrapin for freshwater varieties.
Turtles mate at four in the afternoon and lay eggs at six. Turtles have no teeth.
In 1972 an elephant named Bimbo, was awarded $4,500 damages in California after losing his interest in dancing and water-skiing following a road accident. The case was heard by Judge Turtle.
The Greek tragedian Aeschylus is said to have been killed by an eagle dropping a tortoise on his head.
In 1997, Australian scientists discovered that the Fitzroy River tortoise breathes through its mouth on land and through its bottom when under water.
The word ‘terrapin’ comes from an Algonquin Indian name meaning an edible turtle.
A tortoise brought by Charles Darwin from the Galapagos died in Australia last year aged 176.
Turtles have existed for 200 million years.