Is a turtle a reptile or amphibian

The creatures that have roamed this Earth for over 200 million years… the ones that can remain in water for extended periods of time - TURTLES. It is their astounding abilities that confuse us and raises a dilemma - Is a turtle a reptile or amphibian?

This guide will help you in eradicating these perplexing thoughts while giving you more information on turtles. Let’s read ahead to learn more about the creatures that have endured eons of changes, from the age of dinosaurs to our modern world!

Are turtles reptiles or amphibians?




Reptiles have dry and scaly skin.

Amphibians have moist skin.


Reptiles lay eggs with leathery or hard shells, and some species give birth.

Amphibians typically lay jelly-like eggs in water. 


Reptiles breathe air through lungs throughout their entire lives.

Amphibians usually breathe through their skin, lungs, and gills at different stages of their life cycle. 

Temperature Regulation

Reptiles are cold blooded.

Amphibians are also cold blooded.

Life Stages

Reptiles, including turtles, do not go through different stages.

Amphibians usually have a distinct larval stage.

Is a turtle a reptile? - YES

Are turtles amphibians? - NO


The anatomy of a turtle


anatomy of a turtle

These creatures with a hard shell often capture our attention, compelling us to think, do turtles have ears, do turtles have tails, or what does a turtle look like without a shell? The anatomy of a turtle is quite intriguing. Let’s take a peek behind the shell and uncover the parts of a turtle’s body:

External Anatomy: Turtles feature a shell, head, limbs and tail.

Internal Anatomy: The internal anatomy consists of a skeleton, respiratory system, circulatory system, digestive system, reproductive system and nervous system.

What color are turtles?

What color are turtles

Green Sea Turtle

Greenish-brown with lighter markings on the shell

Painted Turtle

Bright yellow, red, and orange markings on the edges of the shell and limbs.

Box Turtle

Patterns of brown, black, yellow, and orange.

Leatherback Sea Turtle

Mostly dark gray or black with white spots.

Red Eared Slider

Green shell with yellow stripes, and red patches behind the eyes.


Lifespan: How can you tell how old a turtle is?

How can you tell how old a turtle is

The lifespan of turtles varies depending on their species and habitat. They can typically live between 20 and 150 years.

Here is how you can estimate the age of a turtle!

  • Size: Younger turtles are smaller in size, while older turtles become larger.
  • Shell Rings: Counting growth rings or annuli on the scutes can provide an estimate of a turtle's age.
  • Radiography: X-rays or other imaging techniques can be used to examine a turtle's skeletal structure, which can reveal signs of aging.

Turtle diet & nutrition

How long can turtles go without eating

⇒ Herbivorous Turtles

There are species of turtles that eat plants and vegetation only. It includes leafy greens, grasses, algae, aquatic plants, fruits, and vegetables. 

⇒ Carnivorous Turtles

There are turtles that are carnivorous and their diet consists of insects, worms, small fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other small aquatic animals. 

⇒ Omnivorous Turtles

These turtles have omnivorous diets, they can eat both plants and animals. They may eat a variety of foods, such as insects, fish, plants, fruits, and vegetables. 

   How long can turtles go without eating?  

Turtles have a slow metabolism, so they can often go for weeks or even months without eating, depending on the species, age, environmental conditions and their health.


Turtle & water environments

Can turtles drown

Turtles thrive in both aquatic and semi aquatic environments. Even then, we often wonder thoughts like these regarding these shelly creatures:

Can turtles drown?

Yes, turtles can drown if they are unable to reach the water surface or if they are trapped underwater.

→ How long can turtles hold their breath?

Aquatic turtles can typically hold their breath for 15 minutes to several hours. Species like the Australian Fitzroy River turtle, are known to hold their breath for several months.

→ Do turtles sleep? How do turtles sleep?

As turtles do not have eyelids, they can not close their eyes. But they rest by remaining still.

Sea turtle painting

Sea turtle painting

Paintings of turtles are not just displayed at home for stability and wisdom; they are also beautiful works of art that enhance interior spaces. Such turtle paintings art lets you express your creativity while aiding in emotional well being. 

This turtle painting by number depicts a magnificent turtle navigating through the waters where turquoise water is sparkling and the textured shell of the turtle is glistening from light. It is an art that captures the beauty and tranquility of marine life effectively.


“Is a turtle a reptile or amphibian? All about turtles!” end here…….

And so does our confusion. It is clear now that turtles are indeed reptiles and not amphibians with marvelous skills. These cold blooded reptiles, with their fantastic life cycle, from hatching on sandy beaches to going on ocean adventures, enhance their mystique. 

So, the next time you spot a turtle basking on a log or swimming gracefully through clear waters, remember the incredible journey it represents. Pets by Numbers encourages you to cherish and protect these timeless travelers!



What does a turtle symbolize?

Turtles symbolize longevity, patience, wisdom, and protection in various cultures around the world. 

What is a group of turtles called?

A group of turtles is called a bale, turn, or nest, where bale is commonly used for sea turtles only.

How long do turtle eggs take to hatch?

It can take several weeks to several months for turtle eggs to hatch, as it depends upon the species and environmental conditions.

What eats turtles?

Large fish, birds of prey, mammals like raccoons and foxes, and even some species of crocodiles or alligators eat turtles.

Are turtles cold blooded?

Yes, turtles are cold blooded and they rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature.



June 19, 2024