Life with a Turtle
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||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 4 to 6
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||semi, sunbathe, humidity, versatile, diets, buffet, cauliflower, plant-eating, commitment, affected, command, dude, environment, captivity, fire-engine, illegal
||Finding Nemo, Leathery Turtle, One Indian Ocean Giant Tortoise, Pancake Tortoise, East Africa, Semi Aquatic, Red Eared Slider, King Yertle, Eared Slider
Life with a Turtle
By Colleen Messina
1 A long time ago, a man named Aesop told a story about a race between a tortoise and a rabbit. The slow and steady turtle won the race, and Aesop's clever fable reminded people to never give up. More recently, movie characters like the turtle dudes in Finding Nemo have made turtles popular. But are real turtles all that special? People who keep turtles as pets think so!
2 Turtles have been on Earth for millions of years. These versatile reptiles have adapted to live on every continent except Antarctica. They come in all sizes and shapes. A tiny bog turtle is only 4 inches long and weighs just ounces, but a leatherback sea turtle can weigh up to a ton (2,000 pounds). Some turtles can live for more than 100 years, so having a turtle can be a long commitment. One giant tortoise was thought to be around 250 years old when he died in a zoo in 2006.
3 Maybe one reason that turtles have lasted so long is because of their strong shells. A turtle shell has 60 different bones all connected together. The top part of a turtle shell that looks like a dome is called the carapace. One turtle that does not have a domed shell is the pancake tortoise of eastern Africa. For defense, this turtle wedges himself between narrow stones if a predator is chasing him. Then, he inflates himself so the predator can't grab him. Fortunately, the pancake turtle doesn't need maple syrup to slide out of his hiding place.
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