Copyright 2000-2014 by Thomas Zinneman.  All rights reserved.


Tortoises and turtles are among the oldest of all living reptiles.  They first appeared about 200 million years ago, but have evolved little in the intervening time.  Their most distinctive feature is the hard shell that encloses the soft parts of their body, providing protection and camouflage from predators and the elements.  Tortoises and turtles have no teeth and instead use sharp jaws to cut their food. They live on land as well as in fresh water and marine habitats.  However, all species lay their eggs on land.  Although they are most common in the tropical regions, they are also found in temperate parts of the world.  Some marine species undertake long-distance migrations, either in search of food or to reach their nest sites.

Cooter, Florida Red-bellied

Softshell, Florida

Tortoise, Gopher