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Turtles and Tortoises



Tortoises are turtles, but

Not all turtles are tortoises

Does this seem a puzzlement?

To most of us, of course it is!


Both belong to the Testiduines order

Their ribs and spines fused to their shells

They’re both cold-blooded, beaks for teeth

Lay eggs aground in dug-out wells


But tortoise shells are round and domed

While turtles are quite water-dynamic

Turtles would swim and dive all day

A tortoise would swing on land in a hammock


Tortoises live on land year-round

With water they’ll drink and sometimes bathe

While turtles they spend their time mostly wet

In the water they bob and swim amongst waves


If you encounter a shelled creature close

Look at its back legs and check out its toes

The tortoise has hind legs that are “elephantine”

A turtle’s feet webbed, with flippers or claws


How fun to uncover the wonders of nature

Learning new things keeps our minds nice and fertile

And now after reading this poem together

We know how to tell what’s a tortoise or turtle!!

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