turtle facts

Here at NG Kids we’re turtally mad about turtles, that’s why we’ve put together these ten terrific turtle facts!

These magnificent creatures come in all shapes and sizes and live in a number of different environments. They all belong to a group of reptiles called Testudines, which includes turtles, tortoises, and terrapins.

From giant, slow-moving land-dwelling tortoises and snappy terrapins basking in their fresh-water lagoons, to the graceful strokes of a sea turtle gliding through our oceans – check out our ten totally awesome turtle facts, below!

Turtle facts

turtle facts

1. Turtles belong to one of the oldest reptile groups in the world – beating snakes, crocodiles and alligators!

2. These creatures date back to the time of the dinosaurs, over 200 million years ago – woah!

3. Turtles are easily recognised by their bony, cartilaginous shell. This super-tough casing acts like a shield to protect them from predators – some turtles can even tuck their head up inside their shell for extra protection!

turtle facts

4. Just like your bones, a turtle’s shell is actually part of its skeleton. It’s made up of over 50 bones which include the turtle’s rib cage and spine.

Did you know that we have a FREE downloadable Sea turtle primary resource? Great for teachers, homeschoolers and parents alike!

5. Contrary to popular belief, a turtle cannot come out of its shell. The turtle’s shell grows with them, so it’s impossible for them to grow too big for it!

6. What a turtle eats depends on the environment it lives in. Land-dwelling turtles will munch on beetles, fruit and grass, whereas sea dwellers will gobble everything from algae to squid and jellyfish.

turtle facts

7. Some turtles are carnivores (meat eaters), others are herbivores (plant eaters) and some are omnivores (a mixture of the two!). Many baby turtles start life as carnivores but grow to eat more plants as they mature.

8. Turtles are ‘amniotes’ – they breathe air and lay their eggs on land, although many species live in or around water.

9. These cold-blooded creatures have an incredibly long life span. The oldest ever recorded, named Tu”i Malila, of Tonga Island, passed away at the grand old age of 188!

turtle facts

10. Sadly, many species of turtle are endangered! 129 of approximately 300 species of turtle and tortoise on Earth today are either vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered, according to the IUCN. Threats include loss of habitat, poaching and the illegal pet trade.


What do you think of our turtle facts? Let us know by leaving a comment, below!




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  • alfie

    the turtel is soooooooooooooo cute

  • Turtles

    I never new those things thanks xxx

  • Diego

    Thank you for helping me with my sea turtle project

  • teeeeeeeed


  • zayna

    Help save the TURTLES !

  • Teresa[Ye] Kiang

    Turtles are so old!

  • Phoenyx Ng Chok


  • Jody Grewer

    I love turtles so it was good to find more facts about them.

  • lil


  • Billii Meacham

    i love turtles thanks for the awesome facts

  • eliza

    awesome thank you sooooooooo much National Geographic kids

  • Connie

    Good facts

  • natgeolover

    I love all the animals in the ocean and on land but this particular ocean animal really hooks my interest. Thank you so much for the fantastic facts!

  • mietta

    i love turtles so it was good to find out information

  • alexs

    I think turtles are awesome animals. We should save turtles because they are very endangered from all of the plastic and rubbish we throw in the ocean.

  • Turtles are cute

  • Hello

    I feel so sad because I love turtles!

  • demi trethewey

    i love turtles i learnt so much THANK YOU

  • Jocelyn Koehler

    OMG!! who knew turtles were so adorbes and so fun to learn about?!

  • Anna reich

    Your facts are AMAZING

  • Alex

    Love the facts I saved 18 baby turtles heading away from the sea

  • Andrew

    I learnt so much!!!

  • Dante currin

    It's amazing I love it THANKS!!!

  • Angelina

    I love these facts! I already know a lot about turtles but after reading this it improved my knowledge!

  • Angelina

    I think that turtles are amazing! My favorite animal is totally a turtle. Turtles are so cute! After reading this I know way more facts.

  • Jackson

    Turtles are so cute.

  • MelonSeeds26

    This really has some great facts about the life of a turtle!

  • Louis

    Turtally awesome

  • Karen

    I love TURTLES!!!!

  • jane

    I love to study about. animals and turtles are the most amazing animals I have studied about

  • Keisha

    This is so cool! I love turtles and when I saw this I loved it!

  • jinny

    Turtles are amazing

  • bob

    turtles are the best

  • Emma

    Did you know some turtles are endangered because they get mistaken by plastic bags thinking it is a jellyfish. I LOVE TURTLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • LOL!

  • Lol

  • Lexi

    I love turtles! Cool and awesome

  • Nick

    I liked those facts about turtles and I never knew that they could eat jellyfish.

  • Jasmine

    Turtles are so amazing

  • Jasmine

    Turtles are so amaizing

  • Isabella

    turtles are amazing!!!!!!!!!

  • harvey.masters

    lol so cool

  • Dan


  • Hedwighoot

    Really interesting

  • Lizzie appleby

    I think this is really awesome and is interesting

  • KeenanC1512

    I love turtles

  • Gr21

    Turtles are one of my favourite animals

  • Emily

    Love the turtle facts!

  • Turtle dood

    Turtles R Amazing,help get them off the endangered species list!!!

  • turtle lover 26

    turtles are the best creatures ever

  • Cool boy

    Now I know facts about Turtles

  • Siobhan

    Thanks. These turtle facts are indeed turtally awesome.

  • Jenny

    It's jenny again. I also wanted to add that I think what your doing is great. Your spreading awareness about endangered animals and I think that is amazing because animals can't talk and they have no way of protecting themselves like saying "stop endangering our species by littering in the ocean" and i think you doing that is really sending a message to people. I love turtles and I didn't even know some of them are endangered and now I know that for example.

  • Jenny

    Love this page, it is so easy to use and great for kids with its bright colours and cool fonts!! You should add more quizzes that are longer, a suggestion is maybe like what type of cat are you? I know National Geographic is a very respectable company but maybe you could just do that for the kids page. It would attract many more viewers and would be fun to participate in and read!! I love animals too and enjoy reading about them so I love this page. - Jenny

  • Raymond Liu

    This is my favourite animal we gotta take action

  • Ella.gauci

    I like turtles now because they are so Beautiful

  • Arkie

    Sad but superb

  • SOS

    I never knew turtles eat jellyfish!

  • I love turtles!

  • Turtles are my favourite animal!

  • samari

    turtles are amazing

  • Queenstrum

    Our favourite fact was turtles are the closest relative to dinosaurs

  • Bubbles

    I love every thing about turtles. They are so awesome! I already know lots about them but this added to my knowledge. I love learning about animals!!! How can a kid like me help these amazing creatures? Thanks so much!

  • bp

    I love turtles lol

  • Wow turtles endangered?

  • Wolfie Haycraft Mee

    I love turtles! Maybe their ability to live a long time could hold some answers for researchers looking to extend human life. And I bet that like most animals they are a lot cleverer than humans think, if only we could communicate with them.

  • westy6

    Turtles are great! Good facts team

  • Lucy

    Wow! I never knew any of those things about turtles!

  • Grace merriman

    I love the turtle facts, it is sad that they are endangered.

  • Natalya

    I love learning about turtles so much. They are the best animal in the oceans. My mum loves your killer whales too much like me that I love the females turtles the most.

  • RealTanner

    i love turtles

  • Paw288

    I love turtles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Lollia

    Turtles are my favourite animals. I really want to have a pet turtle so that I can help them to stay alive!

  • Katelynn24991

    i liked the facts, it`s fun to learn , but i don`t like the last one because that is sad & i do not like that the turtles are endangered

  • Papyrus

    We need to save the turtles! They matter as much as we do! #SaveTheTurtles!

  • choppers1

    turtles are so cute why would any one want o hurt them they are harmless plus what did they ever do to the poachers ? NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jumana

    Cool facts, they have taught me a good lesson !!

  • Amamamashina

    Wow! Turtles sound awesome, I rarely get to go out on walks to places cause my mum has an illness called pots but this website has helped me learn about animals even so!


    i feel sorry for turtles

  • Turtlelover9000

    Turtles are awesome

  • TurtleLover12

    U gotta love turtles

  • danielle _m

    wow! I have never known that much about turtles I am going to write a story about all these facts on turtles these are amazing going to learn about the other animals and maybe write stories about all of the animals I can learn about. your website is awesome

  • awesome dude

    awesome turtle facts

  • Cherry

    My favourite animal are turtles!

  • Candywolf1612


  • Rebecca

    turtles are AWESOME!! and these facts are 100% true

  • Emie

    turtles are awsome

  • Fredward

    Cool facts! I enjoyed reading them!

  • rokeebat

    I think the facts about the turtles are amazing

  • cuteanimallover99

    SAVE DE TURTLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ellie12356

    COOL! Turtle facts I didnt know turtles belonged to older reptiles!

  • DramaLlama

    I love turtles they are amazing and I voted for them in whats your favourite animal!

  • epc

    I love turtles

  • LeopardStars

    Love turtles. Those facts are great facts, National Geographic! Keep up the good work!

  • Awsometurtlegirl

    Amazing turtles! :D

  • Xander

    I think your turtle facts were very interesting and I liked them. (Alexander, age 6)