Turtle Glossary

 
Our Turtle glossary provides a listing of terms and their associated definitions that you are sure to come across when discussing turtles.
 
Carapace
The top part of a turtles shell.
 
Chelonian
Chelonian is the scientific 'Crown Group' that all turtles, tortoises and terrapins are members of.
 
Ectotherm
Describes an animal where the temperature of its surroundings determines the temperature of their own body.
 
Hatchery
A hatchery is a protected area where turtles are allowed to breed and lay eggs.
 
Imprint
This happens when something very early on in the life of a turtle is imprinted into their minds. Sea turtles for example, can return to the beach where they were born to lay eggs because of this imprint.
 
Nest
When discussing turtles this term refers to a collection of eggs that are all laid in the same period of time.
 
Scute

These are the scale-like structures that compose a turtle’s shell. They are made from keratin which is similar to the material that fingernails are made from.

 
Plastron
The bottom part of a turtles shell.
 
Terrapin
Used to refer to turtles that are largely aquatic.
 
Tortoise
Refers to land-dwelling turtles, or turtles which spend the majority of their time on land.
 
Ventral
The bottom area of a turtle.
 
Vertibrate
Any animal which has a backbone, this includes turtles.
 
 
 
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