Turtles are interesting creatures that have been around for centuries. Some people believe that turtles cannot feel their shells because they lack the necessary nerve endings. Others say that turtles can feel their shells, but it does not bother them because they have a tough outer shell.
There is some scientific evidence that turtles can feel their shells. For example, a study published in the journal “Animal Cognition” found that turtles react to touch on their shells.
The study found that when the turtle’s shell was touched, the turtle would move away from the stimulus. This suggests that turtles can feel touch on their shells but they cannot feel pain as they do not have those types of nerve endings as most research materials state.
This could also indicate that the shells are not very sensitive and generally the touches against their shell are transmitted through vibrations.
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Nerve Endings Of The Shell
Even though their shell is lacking the pain-ending nerves if the shell cracks it can be really painful for them.
Additionally, all turtle shells are not the same. For example, the shells on Leatherback sea turtles are much stronger compared to the shells of other turtle species, tortoises being the most prevalent on the hardness of the shell.
Other turtles like the softshell turtle have a softer, more flexible shell. The difference in the hardness or softness of the shell can affect how sensitive it is to touch.
Do Turtles Feel Pain Through Their Shells?
As we mentioned earlier they don’t have the nerve endings to feel the pain but if the shell cracks it can be really painful for them.
If the shell cracks depending on the severity it can take up to 2 years for the shell to heal on its own.
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The Shell’s Purpose
The shell of the turtle serves many purposes. The shell is not just for protection but also helps turtles regulate their body temperature in the sun to warm up, and they can tuck their heads and legs inside their shells to cool down.
The shell also helps turtles with buoyancy when they are in the water.
The bottom of the shell is usually flatter than the top so that turtles can swim upright and not sink.
Some types of turtles can even force their legs and entire head into their shell, making them practically indestructible. The turtle’s shell protects it from most predators because its shells are typically stouter than the teeth of its prey.
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What Is The Turtle Shell Made Of?
The turtle shell is made of two parts: The upper carapace and the lower plastron which are connected by the bridge. The carapace is the upper part of the shell and it is made up of bony plates called scutes.
The scutes are covered with a layer of a tough, horny material called keratin. The lower part of the shell is the plastron and it is also made up of bony plates.
Keratin is a protein that makes up your hair, skin, and nails and is a protective protein that is less susceptible to scratching or ripping than other body cells produced.
The shell is very important for the turtle as it protects the internal organs from being damaged. It also provides a place for the turtle to store fat so they can survive periods without food.
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Can Turtles Leave Their Shell?
Turtles cannot completely leave their shells as they are attached to their bodies. However, they can pull their heads and legs out of the shell.
Are Turtles Shells Heavy?
Turtle shells can be quite heavy, depending on the type of turtle. For example, the shell of a loggerhead sea turtle can weigh up to 140 kg (310 lb).
The shell is made up of bones, muscles, and connective tissue. The scutes on the shell are made of keratin, which is a tough, horny material.
The muscles in the shell help the turtle to move and can make the shell quite heavy.
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How To Keep A Turtle Shell Healthy
Just like your skin, your turtle’s shell needs to be taken care of and protected. Here are some ways you can keep their shell healthy:
- The basking area need to have safe materials so the turtle won’t damage its plastron
- Do not let your turtle walk on concrete or other hard surfaces.
- Keep your turtle’s shell clean and dry.
- Do not use any harsh chemicals or cleaning products on your turtle’s shell.
- Add calcium to your turtle’s diet since it can help the shell
- Clean your turtle tank of any harmful bacteria that could potentially harm your turtle.
- When handling your turtle, be gentle and avoid putting any unnecessary pressure on the shell.
- Check the pH level to be in the optimal parameters
The turtle’s shell is a very important part of their body and it needs to be taken care of so that they can live a long and happy life.
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Turtle shells are very crucial for the turtle as they protect the internal organs from being damaged. It also provides a place for the turtle to store fat so they can survive periods without food.
The shell is also used by the turtle to swim in the water. Without their shell, turtles would not be able to survive in the wild.
Your turtle’s shell is capable of feeling a wide variety of sensations. And, yes, if their shells are taken away from their body, they will die. Pyramiding and shell rot are common illnesses in turtles. It is critical to take care of your turtle’s shell for it to live a healthy and happy life.