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Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Hei Donnie. From a biology student to a turtle; why is the box turtle not a tortoise? But you've got to admit, "ninja tortoises" doesn't really have the ring to it.

Asked by bfire92


Box turtles, although they have a domed shell and and clawed feet like a tortoise, and they spend most of their lives out of water, they are in fact from the family Emydidae, which is the American pond turtle family, not Testudinidae, the tortoise family. 

Like turtles, box turtles are omnivores. Tortoises are vegetarians. Box turtles also are considered a generalized species-as in there’s many different subspecies that sometimes the only things that differentiate it from the other box turtles is how it looks and location. Many box turtle species can also interbreed.

Box turtles are also unique in that they are the only species with a hinged shell. That means that the bridge at the side has hinges that can enable the turtle to completely go inside its shell and then close up. Other turtle species do not have these hinges and therefore can only get their head inside.

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