Sunday 4 January 2015

Creature 96: Trionychidae

What's the point in being a turtle?

The main benefit of being a turtle is the hard shell you can hide inside to wait out almost any threat to you life. The family of turtles called Trionychidae are commonly known as soft shelled turtles because their shells are soft and flexible rather than armored with hardened scales. They can still retract their head back into their 'shell', but it does not afford nearly the same protection.

Most of them can only swallow food underwater and are strict carnivores. Most of them also have a snorkel like nose similar to that of the Mata mata turtle which was the subject of an earlier post. They excrete urea through their mouth, which effectively means they urinate through their mouth. 

Soft shelled turtles live in fresh water habitats in Asia, Africa and Eastern North America.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Testudines
Family: Trionychidae

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