Pets & Animal Reptiles

How Do I Identify a Turtle From a Tortoise?

    • 1). Look at where the turtle or tortoise lives. If it is on land and in a hot, dry place away from water, it is a tortoise. Tortoises only go to water to drink or bathe, but turtles spend most of their lives in the water or basking on a rock near the water.

    • 2). Examine the reptile's feet. Turtles are known for their webbed feet. Tortoises do not have webbed feet. Their feet are also round and stumpy and often called elephant-shaped.

    • 3). Look at the animal's size, especially if it is full grown. An adult desert tortoise, for example, can be well over a foot long, while a common adult map turtle living in a river is six to ten inches long. However, the alligator snapping turtles' twenty-plus inch size doesn't go along with that distinguishing factor.

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