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Thread: What's the difference...

  1. #1

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    Well, I have it's a feeling that it's either a water/ground dwelling issue, or an english/american lingo issue.

    Help please, I'm from Sweden, and I'm not that good at the finer points of the english language yet.

    Thanks /Quensel
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  2. #2

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    Generally in the United States, turtle refers to an aquatic or semiaquatic animal with webbing on the feet (for swimming) and tortoise refers to a terrestrial animal with stumpy (elephant-like) feet for walking on land. Just a side note tortoises are generally very dense so they can't swim and will sink and drown in deep water. I know the terminology changes depending on your location in the world though.

  3. #3

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    Different adaptations.. different Genus.. probably different family.. I haven't looked into their taxonomy.. give me a sec
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  4. #4

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    They both reside in the order Testudines, Most torts reside in the Genus Geochelone (Land turtle) and Testudo.
    Other than differing in familys.. there's a huge difference, although telling between a box turtle and a tortoise at a glance can be difficult at times.. I'll agree with that.
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  5. #5

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    mostly it's land vs water, but that isn't full proof, some turtles live on land and look very tortois like. When it gets right down two it, you have some very different anitomical structures in the two groups, but to keep things simple thinking of land vs water works okay
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (buster1 @ Aug. 03 2004,5:29)]Just a side note tortoises are generally very dense so they can't swim and will sink and drown in deep water.
    That may be the case in the USA and many other countries, but here in Australia all tortoises (we don't have any box type tortoises) spend most of their lives in the water as well as a portion out of it. The fresh water turtles found here live only in water and never venture out of it. Fresh water turtles are only found in the tropical north whereas tortoises are found throughout mainland Australia.

  7. #7

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    I think I'll just go ahead and clear it up with the science jabber seeing as it's not going to get much more complicated, lol. *getting book*

    Okay of the shelled reptiles you have several groups under the order Testudines

    The quick answer is that when ...blah blah blah my long hard to understand answer I just spent an hour writing is going to be cut so I can paste in this nice easy answer I found on a webpage, lol :P

    "In common usage in the United States, the word turtle is an inclusive word that refers to all species of water turtle, sea turtle, box turtle, terrapin and tortoise. The word tortoise refers to a particular type of turtle that is well adapted to life on land.

    Scientists group all turtles together in the "order" known as TESTUDINES. This order includes about a dozen living "families" of turtle. Tortoises are a specialized clade or subgroup of the order TESTUDINES that are known as the Testudinidae.

    According to Dr. Kristin Berry, the following distinction is made between the terms turtle and tortoise in the US:

    A tortoise is a land dwelling turtle with high domed shell and columnar, elephant-shaped hind legs. Tortoises go to water only to drink or bathe.
    In contrast, the word turtle is used for other turtles: pond turtles, river turtles, box turtles, musk turtles, sea turtles, etc.

    So, tortoises form a subgroup that can be distinguished from other groups of turtle but they are "turtles" nonetheless."

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  8. #8

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    1. What is the difference between a turtle and a tortoise?

    In the United States the following distinction is made between the terms turtle and tortoise:

    A tortoise is a land dwelling turtle with high domed shell and columnar, elephant-shaped hind legs. Tortoises go to water only to drink or bathe.

    In contrast, the word "turtle" is used for other turtles: pond turtles, river turtles, box turtles, and sea turtles.
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