10 Bizarre Turtle Species

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15Spiny Turtle

Matt Weber: September 17, 2013 | 59,467 views
The spiny turtle—Heosemys spinosa—has an amazing shell and is located in Southeast Asia. Like many turtle species, the spiny turtle is hunted for food, and because of this and habitat loss, its numbers have plummeted in recent years.

The turtle’s shell is cog-shaped, with a set of spikes around the edge. In younger specimens, these spikes are sharper, but they become more rounded with age. The spikes deter predators from attacking young turtles, but they also act as a form of camouflage, disguising the turtle as leaf litter. The brown color also helps to mimic leaves.

14Chinese Soft-Shelled Turtle

The Chinese soft-shelled turtle excretes urine ffrom its mouth. This is a unique process that hasn’t been observed before in any other animal. This weird ability has allowed the turtle to survive in briny water because it doesn’t lose so much liquid from its body and need to constantly replace it. If it ingested too much briny water, the turtle would be poisoned. Instead, the urine leaves via the mouth, which is then rinsed with water. Only six percent of the urine produced by the turtle leaves its body from the kidneys.

Like most, this turtle is a delicacy in many parts of Asia. In China, there are around 1,500 turtle farms that sell over 90 million turtles a year. Due to high demand in cuisine, the species is now listed as vulnerable. The turtle is native to China, Japan, Taiwan, northern Vietnam, and eastern Russia. It’s also been introduced to new areas, such as Malaysia, Hawaii, and even California.
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