Types of Turtles

Types of Turtles
This is what a (big) sea turtle looks like.

Learn about different types of turtles

Turtles are a type of reptile. There are many, many different types of turtles. In the simplest terms, turtles can be broken up into 3 main sections: Turtles, Tortoises and Terrapins.

In the US, these are all commonly referred to as “turtles”. The most common turtles which are kept as pets are Russian Tortoises, Spur-thighed tortoises and Red-eared Sliders.  All of these turtles have typical turtle dietary requirements. Read our page on what do turtles eat for more information.

What are turtles

In Britain, turtles is a term reserved for sea-dwelling species. These are the sea turtles which can grow to weight up to 2,000lb!

What are tortoises

baby tortoise
This is what a tiny baby tortoise looks like (see the coin in the background for reference).

The term tortoises typically describes land-dwelling turtle species. These are the species of turtles with legs which can walk on land (slowly).

What are terrapins

types of turtles - terrapin
Here’s a terrapin enjoying some sunshine.

Terrapins are a type of turtle which live in brackish waters. Brackish is a term to describe waters which are salt water and fresh water mixed together.

So that’s basically all the main types of turtles. There are hundreds of turtle sub-species which all have similar characteristics. What do turtles eat? Different types of turtles vary a bit in their regular diet but not a whole lot. Protein is a very important part of any turtles diet – especially when they are very young. Being a young turtle is quite dangerous since they are near the bottom of the food chain. This is why mother turtles lay so many eggs – to ensure that at least some of the babies that hatch will survive the many dangers they face.

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