There are two parts to a turtles' shell. The upper part which is most noticable is called the carapace whereas the part of the shell that is on the bottom of the turtle is called the plastron.

Unlike the rest of a turtles body it does not shed the skin that grows on the top and bottom of it. These many layers of skin that buildup over time are actually what the shell is made up of.

Underneath the outter layer of the shell is a series of bones that form the base. The material that builds up on top connects all the bones together and adds a great deal of strength to the shell. The upper and lower parts of the shell are also connected together by a series of bones. Turtles could not remove themselves from their shell even if they wanted to because key parts of their bone structure are connected to the shell. Since the shell of a turtle plays a vital role it is important for you to help your turtle avoid damaging shell conditions such as soft shell and excess algae growth.

Turtles do not shed their skin in the same manner as most other reptiles do. Lizards and snakes go through a period of time where the entire top layer of their skin is shed. Turtles on the other hand are constantly shedding but only in small sections. As they are growing this is much more noticable but as they get older they will shed much less.

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