A turtle is a reptile with a hard shell that works as a protective shield. Although turtles breathe air, many of them spend much of their lives underwater — so you should make sure your pet turtle has a nice place to swim.

The oldest turtles we know of lived 220 million years ago, making them much older than other reptiles like snakes and crocodiles. They live near water, many of them laying their eggs in sand or soil near the shore. Turtles and tortoises are officially the same animal, although we often refer to land-dwelling turtles as tortoises. While turtles may be known for their short legs and slow pace, they're also famous for being long-lived — some live well over 100 years.

Primary Meanings of turtle

any of various aquatic and land reptiles having a bony shell and flipper-like limbs for swimming
hunt for turtles, especially as an occupation
overturn accidentally
a sweater or jersey with a high close-fitting collar
Full Definitions of turtle

n any of various aquatic and land reptiles having a bony shell and flipper-like limbs for swimming

show 28 types...
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marine turtle, sea turtle
any of various large turtles with limbs modified into flippers; widely distributed in warm seas
snapping turtle
large aggressive freshwater turtle with powerful jaws
mud turtle
bottom-dwelling freshwater turtle inhabiting muddy rivers of North America and Central America
any of various edible North American web-footed turtles living in fresh or brackish water
Pseudemys rubriventris, red-bellied terrapin, red-bellied turtle, redbelly
freshwater turtle of Chesapeake Bay tributaries having red markings on the lower shell
Pseudemys scripta, slider, yellow-bellied terrapin
freshwater turtle of United States and South America; frequently raised commercially; some young sold as pets
Pseudemys concinna, cooter, river cooter
large river turtle of the southern United States and northern Mexico
box tortoise, box turtle
chiefly terrestrial turtle of North America; shell can be closed tightly
Chrysemys picta, painted terrapin, painted tortoise, painted turtle
freshwater turtles having bright yellow and red markings; common in the eastern United States
usually herbivorous land turtles having clawed elephant-like limbs; worldwide in arid area except Australia and Antarctica
pancake turtle, soft-shelled turtle
voracious aquatic turtle with a flat flexible shell covered by a leathery skin; can inflict painful bites
Chelonia mydas, green turtle
large tropical turtle with greenish flesh used for turtle soup
Caretta caretta, loggerhead, loggerhead turtle
very large carnivorous sea turtle; wide-ranging in warm open seas
a marine turtle
Eretmochelys imbricata, hawkbill, hawksbill, hawksbill turtle, tortoiseshell turtle
pugnacious tropical sea turtle with a hawk-like beak; source of food and the best tortoiseshell
Dermochelys coriacea, leatherback, leatherback turtle, leathery turtle
wide-ranging marine turtle with flexible leathery carapace; largest living turtle
Chelydra serpentina, common snapping turtle, snapper
large-headed turtle with powerful hooked jaws found in or near water; prone to bite
Macroclemys temmincki, alligator snapper, alligator snapping turtle
large species having three ridges on its back; found in southeastern United States
musk turtle, stinkpot
small freshwater turtle having a strong musky odor
Malaclemys centrata, diamondback terrapin
of marshes along Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of United States
Terrapene ornata, Western box turtle
primarily a prairie turtle of western United States and northern Mexico
European tortoise, Testudo graeca
small land tortoise of southern Europe
giant tortoise
very large tortoises of the Galapagos and Seychelles islands
Gopherus polypemus, gopher, gopher tortoise, gopher turtle
burrowing edible land tortoise of southeastern North America
Gopherus agassizii, desert tortoise
burrowing tortoise of the arid western United States and northern Mexico; may be reclassified as a member of genus Xerobates
Texas tortoise
close relative to the desert tortoise; may be reclassified as a member of genus Xerobates
Trionyx spiniferus, spiny softshell
river turtle of western United States with a warty shell; prefers quiet water
Trionyx muticus, smooth softshell
river turtle of Mississippi basin; prefers running water
Type of:
chelonian, chelonian reptile
a reptile of the order Chelonia

v hunt for turtles, especially as an occupation

Type of:
hunt, hunt down, run, track down
pursue for food or sport (as of wild animals)

v overturn accidentally

capsize, turn turtle
Type of:
overturn, tip over, tump over, turn over
turn from an upright or normal position

n a sweater or jersey with a high close-fitting collar

polo-neck, turtleneck
Type of:
T-shirt, jersey, tee shirt
a close-fitting pullover shirt
jumper, sweater
a crocheted or knitted garment covering the upper part of the body

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