Animal Life: Turtle Or Tortoise?

Mar 14, 2014

Credit NagyDodo / Shutterstock

My friend Cynthia was driving home one evening when she saw what she thought was a helmet in the middle of the road. But when the helmet began to move she quickly hit the brakes. It was a turtle — a box turtle to be exact.

She wanted to release the turtle into a body of water, but a friend informed her that they can’t swim and if completely submerged in water they’ll drown.

In fact, those that are exclusively land-based are technically known as tortoises, and those that are aquatic are known as turtles. Land-based tortoises have high-domed shells, and short sturdy legs, while aquatic turtles have streamlined shells and webbed feet.

Box turtles are semi-aquatic, meaning that they do require a very small amount of shallow water to wade and drink.

To find out more about caring for box turtles, click here.