Growth and growth rate of turtles
The growth of turtles can be seen at the light seams between the shields of the carapace. If the turtle grows rapidly, the new horny layers around the periphery of the scutes become very light, then the processes of pigment cells (dermal melanophores) grow there and pigment is transferred along them, usually in the form of thin rays or dark spots. When these growth rings “age”, the pigmented areas will not differ from the previous ones. These are the costs of accelerated growth in captivity. (c) D.B. Vasiliev.
As young turtles grow, their body shape and shell color change. The carapace extends in length and darkens. When the turtle grows up and becomes sexually mature, if it is a male, then it may have a depression on the plastron, a thicker and longer tail, long claws. Eye color and nose color may also change.
Parameters of red-eared turtles born and living in nature
Parameters of land turtles of turtles born and living in nature (on the example of Testudo hermanni)
At home, the growth of a turtle depends on the size of the aquarium / terrarium, the frequency of feeding, diet, and the addition of calcium to the feed.
Determining the age of the turtle
It is impossible to know exactly the age of the tortoise, which has not been raised since birth, but approximately it can be defined as follows:
1. The size of the turtle (the length of the shell)
2. By the number of rings on the shell: in 1 year, 2-3 rings are formed. To be more precise, you can count a few flakes, and then find the average value.
But it must be borne in mind that both the size and the number of rings depend on the conditions of the tortoise’s maintenance, and also whether it hibernated.
Rings appear when the turtle is not even a year old. In very old specimens, the carapace becomes especially smooth, as in newborns, and the annual rings turn pale.
When calculating grooves, it should be taken into account that during the period of active growth: from a newborn to a two-year-old groove, the development period is determined from 3 months to six months, and subsequently about one year.
Life span of turtles
The loss of eggs due to nest destroyers is 40-95%. The survival rate of young animals is 10-55%, at the age of 10 to 15 years, 10-15% per year die. A complete change of generations occurs every 20 years, and animals at the age of 30 are rare. At home, turtles often die from infections and poor maintenance. But on average, small turtles live for 50 years, large for 80 years, very large for 150-200 years.
Sample data taken from the observations of herpetologists in Zoos and private collections:
Central Asian – 40-50 years old
Red-eared – 40-50 years old
Indian Roofing Turtle (Kachuga tecta) – 37 years old
box turtles – 50-100 years
Blending’s tortoise (Emydoidea blandingii) – 60 years
desert gopher (Gopherus agassizii), sea turtles – 80 years
radiant – 85 years
Balkan (Testudo hermanni) – 90 years
sparrow – 115 years
Galapagos, Seychelles – 150-180 years
The life span of a turtle depends heavily on caring for it. Some people have 20–30-year-old turtles, or even 40–50-year-old turtles, but many of them have many senile diseases due to poor maintenance and do not last long.