Types of Turtles

Visitors to local ponds, rivers or coast lines often cross paths with one or more of the local turtle population. Due primarily to their popularity as pets, the Red-eared Slider in the video greets many pond visitors because pet owners have historically released them into local ponds. Their aggressive nature often translates into their pushing out local turtle species from their territory.

The Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group at the IUCN recently published a revised taxonomy of the world's 454 turtle species (317 species and 137 subspecies).

North American turtles cover six of the families and fifty-five separate species. Species diversity reaches its highest in the Southeast. Most species inhabit freshwater environments and fit into four of the families.

Depending on the area, native turtle or tortoise species confronts challenges due in large part to habitat loss and or water degredation. This review provides background on some of the general challenges faced by native turtles and tortoises.

All twelve species of Map Turtles, for example, were recently listed in CITES Appendix III, meaning cross border trade in these species requires a permit. Two snapping turtle species (family Chelydridae) swim North American waters,the Common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) and the Alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii). It's also listed on CITES Appendix III.

© 2007-2014 Patricia A. Michaels

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