Happy World Turtle Day!
This is a day to learn about and appreciate turtles and tortoises—and The Humane Society and American Tortoise Rescue hope you will help them in their conservation efforts, too.
Some people dress up like turtles today, some work on projects such as rescuing tortoises stranded on highways, and some participate in educational events. The Humane Society has a list of 12 Things to Do for Turtles and Tortoises.
Many conservationists are against making pets out of turtles, pointing out that a lot of turtles die as they are collected in nature for the pet trade, and that pet turtles are often difficult to care for and therefore likely to die early. The Humane Society urges us to enjoy turtles and tortoises in the wild rather than making them pets.
Another group working to help turtles (in this case, sea turtles) is the Caribbean Conservation Corporation. Check out the CCC's Turtle Tides kid section, with tons of information and games, too! And here is a YouTube video about Loggerhead turtles.
Did you know...?
- The earliest known turtles lived 215 million years ago. As a group, turtles are even more ancient than snakes and lizards, evolving at around the same time as the first dinosaurs.
- Generally, turtles who live on land are called tortoises.
- Humans often get salmonella poisoning from casual contact with turtles, which is why the sale of turtles under 4 inches long is illegal in the U.S. Why do so many stores still sell turtles under 4 inches long? Apparently stores exploit a loophole that allows sales “for educational purposes.”
(I've had salmonella. Believe me, you don't want it!!!)Celebrate Turtles and Tortoises!
- Do some turtle crafts from How Stuff Works. Or how about making a CD turtle magnet or a flowerpot turtle sculpture?
- A Florida wildlife organization offers a free online Sea Turtle Fun Pack that includes coloring sheets and puzzles.
- Learn to draw cartoon turtles with a step-by-step lesson.