Are Turtles Reptile Or Amphibian?

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Turtles have vertebrae and are tagged as ectothermic species. Also, they can live both on land and water. Yes, just like the amphibians. So, why would anyone call them reptiles? And what are they actually? Reptile or amphibian?

Turtles are reptiles because:

  • They are born with lungs. 
  • These creatures can adjust to both land and water life any time. 
  • Turtles have dry, scaly, and rough skin. 
  • They lay eggs on land. 
  • Turtles have backbones. 
  • They are cold-blooded and hibernate if the temperature falls. 

Want a thorough explanation? Keep reading.

Is Turtle A Reptile Or An Amphibian? The Science Behind It

Well, let’s address the fact first.

Both reptiles and amphibians have backbone or vertebrae. The creatures can adapt to water and land, depending on the situation. Finally, amphibians are also cold-blooded and hibernate during winter.

So, the confusion between reptiles and amphibians is legit.

Let me end this fuss scientifically, once and for all.

Turtle Does Not Fit Amphibian

Here, we will compare the turtle against some standard features of both amphibians and reptiles. For example,

1. Life Cycle

When we hear amphibians, we think of frogs, newts, toads, etc. One feature all amphibians must have is dual life. For example, all members of this class have an aquatic larva stage and later they lead their adult life on the land.

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Though partially, this is the only common area between the turtles and the amphibian. See, turtles also live a dual life. But they do not switch between land and water, considering the life cycle.

Instead, they spend most time underwater and occasionally come to the dock for basking. It is a daily routine for them.

Moreover, not all turtles live underwater most of their lives. Well, yes, the majority of turtles perform 75% of their daily activity in water. But some species spend equal time on land and water. Also, you can not ignore the box turtles who avoid the water unless necessary.

2. Breathing Organ

Amphibians are born with grills to survive the larvae stage. But the creatures grow lungs once they enter adulthood.

On the contrary, turtle hatchlings are born with lungs. The creatures use lungs to replenish air for biological functioning, and when underwater, turtles adapt to a unique breathing technique.

3. Skin

If you look closely, turtles have scales all over their body. It gives a dry and rough feeling when you touch the pets.

But amphibians have smooth skin. Some members of this group use the skin as a secondary breathing medium.

4. Nesting Behavior

Turtles can not lay eggs in the water because of the water pressure. In fact, if you force the creatures to deposit eggs in the pond, they might refuse to nest at all. It leads to egg binding and life-threatening complexities for turtles.

Amphibians, on the contrary, are very comfortable depositing eggs underwater. Their eggs stay protected with a slimy layer. So, when the babies come out, they start their life in the water.

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So Are Turtles A Reptile?

A big yes!

I know the lifestyle of turtles does not go with the traditional reptiles like snakes, lizards, crocodiles, etc. But turtles and all reptiles share all mandatory features like similar breathing organs, dual life, nesting habit, etc.

Are Sea Turtles Reptiles?

Turtles and tortoises of all sorts fall in the same reptile category. Yes, these 3 groups have differences in their biological features. For example, sea turtles are giant, have flippers instead of webbed feet, and barely come to the shore.

Turtles are smaller and spend 75/25 of their life in water and land. Tortoises, on the contrary, can not swim and barely take a dive. However, even with no swimming talent, tortoises can survive hours underwater in an emergency.

But all these creatures are born with lungs and can adapt to land or water life. Besides rough and scaly skin, all gravid turtles and tortoises share the same nesting culture.

When winter approaches, all these creatures look for heating sources. If the temperature is down for days, they prepare for hibernation.

All these behaviors and physical features sum up one thing. Turtles and tortoises are reptiles, not amphibians.

Before You Go

Though we love turtles, there is so much we do not know about this species. Find out the interesting facts about your pet turtle from the link below.

15 Interesting Turtle facts For Owners

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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