Monday, April 20, 2015

FRESHWATER AND SEMI-AQUATIC TURTLES: Hidden Surprises in Common Things


The most successful of all Turtle Sub-Families are Emydids. This Sub-Family is split into two groups – Emydinae that includes pond turtles, sliders, map turtles, and terrapins, and Batagurinae that includes leaf, box, and wood turtles. Although Emydids live on all the continents except Australia and Antarctica, most of Them can be found in the Northern Hemisphere.

Emydids are a group of homogeneous Turtles with moderately flattened shells. The plastrons (bottom half) of their shells are large and sometimes hinged. They can close their shells completely. However their main characteristic is their short necks. In addition, Emydids are surprisingly hardy and long-lived, with an average lifespan of forty years.

Largely freshwater and semi-terrestrial turtles, Emydids usually spend their time between land and water. They prefer living near marshes, rivers, and lakes. Although Emydids are considered to be water turtles, Box Turtle, who lives mainly on land, is included in their number.

One thing that makes Emydids extraordinary is how well They thrive in spite of having so many enemies. Their nests are raided by various Mammals. Snakes and Shore Birds eat Juvenile Emydids. Alligators and people eat the Adults. Somehow Emydids survived through it all, and still remain prolific throughout the world. They are so prevalent that when people think “turtle”, they usually picture a typical Emydid.

Most Emydids have a subtle characteristic that identifies Them. Red-Eared Sliders have red patches by each ear. Diamondback Terrapins have a diamond pattern on their shells. Spotted Turtles have spots on their shells. Emydids also have distinctive personalities. Wood Turtles are extroverted while mild-mannered Spotted Turtles are shy.

The ordinariness of Emydids hides many surprises. Box Turtles usually live longer than a century. Map Turtles have intricate patterns of yellow on their shells that resemble maps. Look carefully at ordinary things and you will find hidden surprises.

Take time to read what individual Emydid teachers have to teach.

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