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There are more than 300 species of turtles and tortoises in the world, and over half of them are threatened or endangered. Sea turtles are at particular risk. Nearly all species of sea turtles are endangered. The threats turtles and tortoises face include hunting, habitat loss and climate change. Ocean pollution and plastic threatens sea turtles, and they can also get caught in fishing gear accidentally.
How many species of turtles are at risk in Canada?
All of them. That's a sad thought isn't it?
Turtles are one of the oldest reptile groups. They have existed for longer than lizards, snakes and crocodiles. Some species living today have existed on Earth since the time of the dinosaurs.
Turtles lay their eggs on land, so they do not live near either the North Pole or the South Pole because of all the ice and snow.
Turtle eggs are slightly soft and leathery. They are deposited in large numbers in holes dug into mud or sand, covered and left to incubate themselves.
When sea turtles hatch, they squirm their way to the surface and head toward the water.
Many turtle species can draw their necks in under their shell for protection.
Some land turtles are called tortoises. They have short sturdy feet and move very slowly.
Sea turtles have flippers instead of feet. They swim using the up and down motion of their front flippers, almost like they are flying in the water.
Sea turtles spend most of their time in the water but have to come to the surface to breathe.
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