Types of turtles

There are hundreds of different types of turtles. This article aims to give you a brief overview of the different types of turtles. Here is a short list of some of the types of turtle.

The Sea Turtle

This family of turtle is rather large and can be found in most subtropical and tropical areas in the world. It has two very distinct populations in the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. This is an endangered species and it is illegal to harm, kill or collect them.The green sea turtle can boast being the biggest of the sea turtles that have hard shells. They can grow to sizes of over three feet and can weigh as much as 350 pounds. In relation to their bodies, their heads seem small but they are a visually appealing turtle with markings around the eyes and face. Their shells can be one of a variety of colors such as yellow, gray, green, black or brown.The other three types of turtles that can be found plying the United States coastline are the Hawksbill sea turtle, Olive ridley sea turtle and Kemp’s ridley sea turtle. This species may be gone soon if conservation efforts fail them, and we as a society will lose another species to our blatant disregard of our fellow global creatures.The populations of the green sea turtle have drastically diminished in the last century. The reason behind this is believed to be the harvesting of their eggs, the capture of adults as they forage for food in waters along the coast as a delicacy for human consumption, and getting entangled in commercial fishing gear.

The Leatherback

Turtle Of all of the types of turtle, this turtle is the largest of them all. The leatherback is a sea turtle and is the only species of turtle that does not have a hard shell. Instead it only has flesh and skin. This kind of turtle can be found all over the world. These types of turtles are the giants of the sea weighing in at up to 1100 pounds and can reach lengths of nearly six feet. The shell of the leatherback is not hard like other turtles; instead they have a leather-like, rubbery consistency. A male can be distinguished from the female by his long, broad tail. This tail extends far beyond his carapace. Their favorite type of food is jellyfish and they find themselves on the endangered list because human pollution has contributed to their demise. They may mistake plastic bags for their prey and can become ill from the consumption of these man-made products. The loss of nesting sites contributes to their standing as well as harvesting of eggs, and again getting tangled in the gear used for commercial fishing.

The Snapping Turtle

There are just three species in this family of turtles. They can be found throughout North America, in the southeastern regions of Asia and in South America, to the north. These kinds of turtles all have big heads and a strong jaw with the upper jaw being hooked. They cannot fully retract their limbs or head into their shell and have fairly long tails. These kinds of turtles have been roaming the earth for 65 million years. They have quite a diverse habitat as well as mating habits.

The Alligator Snapping Turtle is the biggest freshwater turtle on the continent of North America. It is larger than but not quite as aggressive as the common snapping turtle. These turtles are often found in the Missouri River and in South Carolina and the northern areas of Florida. This kind of turtle can stay under water for almost an hour.

Pond Turtles

This is the largest group of turtles and can be found all over the world. Some species of pond turtles are carnivores while others are herbivores. They have many predators such as alligators and raccoons. These species are typically the kinds of turtles that are used in the pet trade.


These kinds of turtles can boast the distinction of being the largest turtles that live on land. Tortoises feed on flowers, grasses and fruits though they have been known to feast on carrion. Typically, tortoises have heavy scales and feet that are not webbed. Their closest relatives are the pond turtles.

Softshell Turtles

These kinds of turtles can live in many types of waters with a soft bottom being required. Their shells are not hard, but instead are covered with a leather-like skin. They spend most of their time buried in mud. They can be omnivorous but most species are carnivores feeding on mollusks, insects, amphibians and fish.