Aquatic animals deserve so much attention as people give to terrestrial ones. If the aquatic ones don’t survive, there is no way it won’t affect those on land. One of the many incredible ways to ensure that recognition is given to them is by celebrating their existence.
Turtles are one of the few magnificent marine creatures believed to be as old as snakes, alligators, and crocodiles. They date back to the earliest times – those of dinosaurs, over 200 million years ago. However, there are suddenly going through a decline in population due to some factors.
In a bid to ensure that they are preserved and protected, World Turtle Day was established. On this day, people, agencies, and NGOs dedicate their time to create awareness on turtles and the need to protect them in our existing environment. While this effort has proven effective, there is still work to do.
The History of National Turtle Day
At first, it was not easy to differentiate between turtles and tortoises – in fact, some people still think they are the same thing. Therefore, to help people keep informed and know their differences, these celebrations were established.
The first National Turtle Day was in 1990, created by the American Tortoise Rescue. The mission of this team of environmentalists was to document and observe the patterns of tortoises in their environment. The team consisted of Susan Tellem and Marshall Thompson, whose primary aim was to do something about people exploiting tortoises and preventing them from endangerment and extinction. On their way to doing this, they observed a different species of shelled animal – the turtles and decided to extend the work of preservation and protection.
For Turtle Day, Susan has actively involved herself in charity collections and spreading awareness about turtles, tortoises, habitats and changes in population size.
When is World Turtle Day Celebrated?
According to the American Tortoise Rescue, World Turtle Day is celebrated every 23rd of May, every year. It is a special day to be aware of these legendary animals and raise awareness for protecting their habitats – waterbodies, i.e., seas and oceans.
What to Do on Turtle Day?
They are several ways to get involved in National Turtle Day. However, you can start by contacting the American Tortoise Rescue to get info on how the day’s activities would go. The primary aim is to promote the protection of turtles using any means necessary, i.e., campaigns, adverts, charity work, social media.
Additionally, people are asked to visit local aquariums to see live turtles in their elements and pet toys for souvenirs. If there are also nature groups and local turtle communities, people can join the movement towards protection and conservation.
Furthermore, donations are accepted for the cause.
Buying a new rock for your turtle’s terrarium is also another incredible way to celebrate if you have one at home.
Why Celebrate Turtle Day?
Often, this question has been asked, and it is important to provide an answer because only then will people see reasons why they should be involved. Turtle Day was created for two reasons – they are at risk of population decline via exploitation, and their habitats face a huge threat.
Turtles are hunted and killed for different reasons – mostly because of their various body parts, which seems beneficial to man. The shells, skin, meat and eggs are resources to design several fashion items and a source of food. On the other hand, their habitats are getting destroyed by overfishing and pollution from industries.
Overall, the reason for celebrating this day is to stop all these man activities and focus on protecting them and ensuring their existence on the planet.
What is the Difference Between Turtles and Tortoises?
Turtles and Tortoises are reptiles that almost look alike; however, there are differences between them based on habitat and body physiology. It is important to know these differences so that you can tell them apart if you cannot.
First, turtles are mostly water animals than land, while tortoises are land animals.
Secondly, turtles have streamlined bodies with flat shells, while tortoises are larger animals with domed shells.
Thirdly, tortoises live longer than turtles. The average age of tortoises is 300 years, while turtles live only up to half or less, i.e., 40 to 150 years. The world’s oldest turtle lived up to 90.
What are the Top Facts About Turtles?
If you would like to learn more about turtles against the next National Turtle Day, here are some interesting facts to know.
Turtles More than One Shell
Turtles have shells just like tortoises; however, the outer shell is not an exoskeleton. Instead, it is a modified rib cage with a lower shell – a second shell. This second shell is called Plastron and often combines with the outer shell (the carapace) to form a skeletal box for protection.
Turtles are Noisy
You would expect turtles to be as quiet as tortoises; however, they aren’t. They are noisy animals like dogs, cats. The noise differs from one species of turtles to another.
Weather Influences Sex of Turtle Eggs
The weather plays a huge role in the formation of sex gametes in turtles. At lower temperatures, male eggs are hatched, while at higher temperatures, female eggs are hatched.
Turtles Have Baby Tooth That They Lose at Birth
After young turtles’ hatch, they lose their egg tooth within an hour. This tooth’s only role is to break them free from their shell.
Turtles are Heavy
Most turtles in the world today are heavy. They fall between the ranges of 600 to 2,000 lbs. They also grow up to 8 feet.
If celebrating World Turtle Day is how to engage people to know more about their environment and how exploiting creatures like this can have dire consequences, so be it. Many people join the trend every year, and it is a goal that everyone does so that these creatures get to live and survive peacefully in a place like this.