Why don’t turtles run?

 For our first serious question, I chose one from Kelly.  One reason that turtles don’t run, is that turtles don’t really need to run.  A turtle’s shell can help it stay safe.  If an animal, like a rabbit, is scared, it will run to its home.  A rabbit’s home is a place where the rabbit can feel safe.  For a turtle, maybe that safe place is much, much closer.  It’s right on its back!

florida redbelly turtle PUBLIC DOMAIN
Almost all the way inside…

Turtles can pull their head, tail and all 4 of their legs into their shell to stay safe.  Some turtles even have a small part of their shell that can move like a door.  It can close and keep the whole turtle safe inside the shell.  If the shell is closed, it is not easy for another animal to eat the turtle.

turtles on a rock PD
Do they look like rocks?

Another question…

How come turtles can’t run?

Another reason that turtles don’t run is because they really can’t run.  A turtle’s bones are connected to the shell.   Connected means they are together in one piece.  Its front and back legs can’t move very far.  Other animals don’t this problem.  Turtles’ shells are very strong.  Now, because the shell is so strong, it is also very heavy.  Do you think you could run if you had a heavy shell on your back?  That’s like you putting your table on your back and trying to run around!

turtle skeleton PD
See?  Bones and shell are together.

So let’s review:

  • Turtles don’t need to run because they can go inside their strong shell.
  • Turtles don’t need to run because they are good at hiding.
  • Turtles can’t run because their legs can’t move very far.
  • Turtles can’t run because some of their bones are part of their shell.
  • Turtles can’t run because their shell is really heavy!
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