Nothing on earth today is like Turtle. The Turtle’s unique design–their ribs fused to their shell and leg bones tucked inside their body cavity–is a hallmark of the family. Turtles have been on earth since before the dinosaurs.
Turtles live longer than any other group of animals. For huge Turtles, life over one hundred years is common. Small Turtles live for fifty years. One record holder was a Box Turtle in the United States, believed to have lived 138 years.
Turtles are divided into two groups: the Cryptodria, with eleven families, and the Pleurodires with two families. The Pleurodires are known for the way they curl their neck into an S-shape when retracting their heads back into their shells.
One thing that Turtles are known for is basking. Many people see Pond Turtles, on logs, basking in the sun. Sea Turtles bask at the surface of the ocean, for short periods. Land Turtles (AKA Tortoises) will seek a sunny spot, lie down, and extend their legs behind themselves. Turtles find basking to be beneficial for many reasons: temperature control, parasite control, and to assimilate Vitamin D for the health of their shells.
Turtle teaches tenacity. They have walked on the earth for millions of years. While other species have come and gone in that time, Turtles are still here, alive, well, and going about their lives.
Important Turtle Teaching: Protection
"The turtle by its natural design teaches us the lesson of protection. She teaches us to keep up our shield against negativity, and to withdraw in times of danger." Copyright: Unknown.
Important Turtle Teaching: Be Careful In New Situations:
"Turtle teaches us to be careful in new situations and to be patient in reaching our goals. Turtle also teaches us to take things slowly, for it gives us time to figure out if we need to protect our self or forge ahead. Turtle shows up in our lives when we need to go into shell and wait until our thoughts and ideas are ready to be expressed. He also teaches us to be adaptable to our environment so we can find the harmony within it." Copyright: Animal Totem. (Read more about Turtle at Animal Totem site.
Turtle’s Teachings Include:
“Turtle buried its thoughts like its eggs in the sand, and allows the sun to hatch the little ones. This teaches you to develop your ideas before bringing them out in the light.” Copyright: “Medicine Cards”, Jamie Sams and David Carson.
“By following the example of Turtle we can learn to ground ourselves in the nurturing and protective energy of the earth and to flow with its energies at a pace, which assures completion of our tasks.” Copyright: Beyond the Rainbow (Constance Barrett Sohodski).
“Turtles of all kinds, both water and land Turtles, are good signs and very good powers. The Turtle is considered very sacred to most North American tribal cultures. The Turtle is a healer and protector. It can grant long life, wisdom, and good health.” Copyright: “Spirits of the Earth”, Bobby Lake-Thom.
"Since Turtle carries its home on its back, it has also been recognized as having the ability to 'manage' in difficult circumstances. Turtle has good hearing and can sense movement in the water through the membranes in the skin. Turtle even has a sense of smell and pretty good eyesight, reminding us not to judge any of our relations by outward appearances." Copyright: Unknown.
Take time to read what the Individual Turtle Teachers have to teach.
Turtle is the name of the entire species. Tortoise is the name for land Turtles. Terrapin is a term for North American Turtles collected commercially for food.
Conservation Note: Many species are endangered and are under protection by law.
"Sweet Pond", "Pink Sand," and "Mud Turtle" Drawings copyrighted by Mary Ann Sterling