JUL 09, 2019 4:57 PM PDT

Everything You Need to Know About a Turtle's Shell

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

One of the most telltale features of a turtle is its protective shell, and regardless of the species, most turtle shells are discernably similar.

Despite what you might see on cartoons, a turtle’s shell isn’t removable. It’s quite literally a part of the turtle’s body, and it serves as the animal’s ribcage and backbone, all in one. Perhaps more intriguingly, turtles are one of the only land animals in the world in which the shoulder bones and hip bones reside within the ribcage, or in this case, the shell.

Turtles also use specialized muscles inside their shells to help them breathe. Unlike most land animals, the shell can’t expand and contract like a typical ribcage, and so turtles rely on these muscles to get the oxygen they need.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, turtles also use their shells to help them dig holes and to defend against predators. As it would seem, a turtle’s shell is quite the practical tool at times.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAR 08, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAR 08, 2020
Pumas Struggle to Take Down Guanacos
Pumas, like other large cats, are predacious animals that seek large prey capable of sustaining themselves and their cub ...
MAR 06, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAR 06, 2020
Scorpion-derived Proteins Deliver Arthritis Treatment
New research published in the journal Science Translational Medicine shows that that a scorpion-derived proteins could s ...
MAR 17, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAR 17, 2020
The Common Roly Poly Isn't Actually an Insect
Most people assume that pill bugs, which are more colloquially referred to as ‘roly polies,’ are insects. Bu ...
MAR 19, 2020
Earth & The Environment
MAR 19, 2020
What's the Ocean's Oxygen Budget?
Have you heard the statement, “every other breath you take comes from the ocean?” Oxygen-producing phytoplan ...
MAY 05, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAY 05, 2020
When Rival Baboon Troops Collide, Only Chaos Ensues
Troops of Hamadryas baboons can reach numbers of 400 strong without a single particular leader. Albeit large, these troo ...
MAY 18, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAY 18, 2020
Sharks Actually Fear Dolphins, and Here's Why
Sharks are often viewed as one of the ocean’s top apex predators, but despite this rather prestigious classificati ...
Loading Comments...