Turtles live both on the continents and in the coastal waters washing them, as well as in the open ocean. The distribution area of these animals is very large – they are found everywhere on land and in the seas, with the exception of the coast of Antarctica and northeast Eurasia. Therefore, on the map, the territory of residence can be represented as a wide band from about 55 degrees north latitude to 45 degrees south.
Depending on where the turtles are found, they can be divided into 2 categories:
- Marine – their habitats are the most diverse: these are the waters of the world’s oceans.
- Ground – in turn, are divided into 2 groups:
but. Land – they live exclusively on land.
b. Freshwater – live in water (rivers, lakes, ponds, backwaters).
Basically, turtles are heat-loving animals, so they are common only in areas of equatorial, tropical and temperate climates. They can be found on all continents, with the exception of Antarctica. Animals live in most countries:
- turtles are ubiquitous in Africa;
- in North America, distributed mainly in the United States and in the countries of the equatorial belt;
- in South America – in all countries except Chile and southern Argentina;
- in Eurasia everywhere, with the exception of Great Britain, Scandinavia, the greater territory of Russia, China and the Arabian Peninsula;
- in Australia, with the exception of the central part of the mainland and New Zealand.
At home, these animals are bred everywhere: the tortoise lives in captivity on any mainland, provided that normal temperature, humidity and nutrition are ensured. However, life expectancy at home is always less than in the natural environment.
The family of land turtles has 57 species. Almost all of them are located in open spaces with a mild or hot climate – these are:
- Southern Europe;
- North, Central and South America.
Mostly animals settle in the steppes, deserts, prairies or savannahs. Some species prefer moist, shaded places – they settle in rainforests. Turtles love a temperate and tropical climate. In the first case, they clearly observe seasonality and go into hibernation for the winter. In the second case, reptiles remain active throughout the entire period and never prepare for wintering.
Among other common representatives of land turtles, one can name the following species:
The common land turtle, which is often bred in Russia at home, is a Central Asian species. In nature, these land turtles live in such regions:
- Middle Asia;
- southern regions of Kazakhstan;
- northeastern regions of Iran;
- India and Pakistan;
It is mainly found in the steppes, but the Central Asian tortoise can be found even in the foothills at an altitude of just over 1 km. Despite the high prevalence of this reptile, in recent years it has often been subjected to poaching attacks, so it is already listed in the Red Book.
Range of Freshwater Turtles
These turtles in nature live only in freshwater bodies with relatively clean water – in rivers, lakes or ponds. In the freshwater family, there are 77 species of various turtles ranging in size from small to medium. They are true amphibians, since they are able to stay for a long time not only in water, but also on land. The most famous turtles are:
A marsh turtle lives in Central and Southern Europe, in the Mediterranean and North Africa. It also occurs in Russia – the regions of the North Caucasus and Crimea. She prefers small rivers and quiet lakes, backwaters with a muddy bottom, where you can dig into the winter. This is a thermophilic animal that hibernates in non-freezing ponds. In southern Europe and northern Africa, the reptile remains active throughout the year.
Trachemys live in nature in the Americas:
- countries of the equatorial belt;
- north of Venezuela;
Cayman species also lives in the United States and along the southern borders of Canada, but this reptile does not occur in other territories. The painted turtle lives in the same region.
Where do sea turtles live?
Sea turtle lives in the salty waters of the oceans – both in the coastal zone and in the open sea. This family has several species, among which the most famous are turtles:
The main habitat is tropical seas, washing continents and individual islands. Mostly sea turtles live in open warm currents or coastal waters. Most of their lives, like freshwater varieties, they spend in water. However, they go ashore every year in order to lay their eggs on wild sandy beaches.
The green sea turtle (also called soup) lives in the tropics and subtropics in the seas of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. This is a very large species – the individual reaches 1.5 m in length, and up to 500 kg in weight. Since the habitat of this sea turtle often intersects with human settlements, hunting is organized for the purpose of obtaining tasty meat. Therefore, recently hunting for this species is prohibited in almost all countries.
Turtles live in most natural areas except the tundra and taiga. In the foothills they are met at an altitude of 1-1.5 km, in the depths of the ocean they are practically not widespread. They prefer to stay close to the surface to constantly have access to air. Since these are thermophilic reptiles, the main factor restraining their distribution is temperature. Therefore, in the harsh climate of Russia and other northern countries, most often they can be found only in captivity.