10 Must-Know Facts for World Turtle Day

World Turtle Day, May 23, is an annual occasion that the American Tortoise Rescue began 17 years ago to honor and promote turtle and tortoise conservation around the world. Sadly, global turtle and tortoise populations are declining because of smuggling, climate change, habitat destruction, the exotic food industry and the pet trade. To date, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has protected habitat for eight at-risk turtle species.

In honor of World Turtle Day, here are 10 fun facts about turtles:

1. Turtle shells have nerves and a blood supply, making them an active part of turtles’ bodies.

2. The eastern snapping turtle, Canada’s largest freshwater turtle, stays submerged for so long that algae grows on its shell.

3. When threatened, the eastern musk turtle, a.k.a. “stinkpot,” releases a skunk-like odor.

4. Leatherback turtles, the largest turtle species in the world, can weigh up to 680 kilograms.

5. A turtle’s shell is an altered ribcage that’s part of its vertebral column and consists of 50 different plate-covered bones.

6. When female sea turtles are ready to lay their eggs, they travel all the way back to the same beach where they were born.

7. Turtles inhabit all continents except Antarctica.

8. Nest temperature affects which sex sea turtles are born as, with temperatures above 29 degrees Celsius resulting in more female offspring.

9. The oldest discovered turtle fossil dates from around 220 million years ago.

10. The longest-lived turtle died at age 188.

This post was written by Adam Hunter and originally appeared on the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s blog, Land Lines.

Post photo: Baby snapping turtle (Photo by the Nature Conservancy of Canada)


Telica R
Telica R7 months ago


Rosslyn O
Rosslyn Oabout a year ago

I have always been fascinated with turtles, but I didn't know about the 'stinkpot' critter... so cool of mother nature to give this one extra protection. The Leatherback Turtle would be awesome to see in real life. Thank you for this information.

Jerome S
Jerome Sabout a year ago


Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

Philippa Powers
Philippa Powersabout a year ago

I love turtles.

Jane M
Jane Mabout a year ago

Thank You for the info on turtles! very nice!!!

Ruth S
Ruth Sabout a year ago


Carl R
Carl Rabout a year ago


Dolores D
De Dabout a year ago

excellent story on turtles!

Janis K
Janis Kabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing.