Did you know that today is World Turtle Day? May 23rd has been World Turtle Day since 2000, making this the 22nd annual celebration! American Tortoise Rescue initiated this holiday to bring more awareness to tortoises, turtles, and how we can protect them. You can watch a video about World Turtle Day to learn all about it.

We know that there are many animal lovers at CHLC, so we thought this was the perfect opportunity to share some interesting turtle facts for kids! Read through the facts below, and surprise your little one with a new fact today!

Interesting Turtle Facts

  1. All tortoises are turtles, but not all turtles are tortoises. Here’s what makes them different: tortoises only live on land, not in the water. They also have different shell characteristics.
  2. Turtles can live for a long time! In fact, the world’s oldest known tortoise is celebrating his 190th birthday this year! Learn about Jonathan the giant tortoise.
  3. Unlike a hermit crab, turtles do not outgrow their shells—their shells grow with them!
  4. Speaking of turtle shells, they are made up of over 50 bones, including the spine.
  5. The leatherback sea turtle is the largest turtle species. On average, these turtles can weigh up to 1,500 pounds and swim as fast as 22 miles per hour! The biggest leatherback turtle ever recorded weighed in at 2,109 pounds.
  6. There are over 350 species of turtles.
  7. Texas is home to 25 native turtle species and 5 sea turtle species.
  8. Turtles don’t have teeth. They use beaks to break up food.
  9. Turtles can sleep underwater, some for up to five hours.
  10. As omnivores, turtles eat both meat and plants. Depending on the type of turtle, they might munch on fruits, vegetables, worms, grass, bugs, crabs, fish, and more.

If your child wants to learn more about turtles, here’s a list of turtle books they might enjoy.