Turtle vs. Tortoise

Difference Between Turtle And Tortoise Turtle Ornate box turtles live in very dry, sandy grasslands. They tolerate their…

Difference Between Turtle And Tortoise


Ornate box turtles live in very dry, sandy grasslands. They tolerate their harsh surroundings by spending the day in the shade or burrowing into the ground. Occasionally, heavy rains flood the turtles’ burrows, forcing them to scramble to the surface. Suddenly people see many turtles where they had never noticed any before.

Ornate box turtles are most common in grassy areas near forests. In October, the turtles move into the woods and dig a hole in which to hibernate. Hibernating ornate box turtles are not completely inactive. As the weather gets colder, the turtles dig deeper and deeper. Eventually they may settle and sleep in a spot 2 feet below ground. In April, ornate box turtles emerge from their burrows and return to their grassy summer homes. They tend to remain rather groggy and sluggish for about a month. Even when fully awake, ornate box turtles are never very quick. Because they are so slow-moving and deliberate, this species has been called the most turtlelike of all turtles.

During May, mature ornate box turtles find mates, and the females lay their eggs in June and July. The eggs hatch in the fall or winter, but the young turtles do not leave the nest until the following spring. Their parents do not take care of them during this time. It takes the young turtles 10 years to reach maturity, and a few even live to the ripe old age of 50.


Tortoises are terrestrial turtles having short, elephantlike feet with unwebbed toes. They are found primarily in dry areas. Sometimes called “land turtles,” the more than 40 species of tortoises, classified in several genera making up the family Testudinidae, are found in all temperate and tropical areas except Australia and Polynesia. They range in size from about 15 cm (6 in) to more than 90 cm (3 ft), usually have a high-domed shell, and can draw their heads completely in under their shells. They are generally slow-moving, plant-eating, and long-lived.



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