this hurt my heart. 


In memory of Petals.
She was my best friend and tied for my favorite tortoise. We went shopping together, and I took her on walks, and while I painted her nails she would sing to me. Her sister tortoise was Mocha, a year older and much stronger, but she was always there for Petals.
Petals was such a strong girl, through all the shots and X-Rays, but she was never 100% well. Even when we tried to separate the sisters with a wooden wall in their tank, Mocha dug under the wall and sat next to her sister until she got well.

When I came back from camp that summer my parents told me she was gone, and I cried for a whole day. I had never been so close to something that had just disappeared from my life.
I made her a beautiful shoebox with sparkly pink ribbon – her favorite – and put her lifeless shell inside. 
Petals was so frail, her happy green eyes were permanently shut, her shiny scales were dull and thin, and her head drooped down. That was the worst. Her head was the first thing that popped out and greeted me every morning of my childhood.
I sat with her at her burial spot in my backyard and planted flowers. Her sister Mocha helped.
With Petals gone, Mocha was sad for a while, but Petals’ spirit was still inside of her. She smiled everyday, and ate out of both bowls of food so that Petals’ leaves wouldn’t go to waste.
To this day Mocha has grown into a big, strong girl, wand with Petals watching over, I know she’ll find a great home with a lovely family when I go away to college next year.



I wish people would stop putting turtles in the tortoise tag and tortoises in the turtles tag. They are NOT EVEN IN THE SAME TAXONOMIC FAMILY GUYS.

YES they look ~sort of~ alike. But let me break it down for you.

Everybody remember King Phillip Came Over For Good Spagetti? Kingdom Phylum Class Family Order Genus Species?

Each grouping is a great big circle. So, in the ANIMAL KINGDOM, you get all the vertibrate and invertibrate life on the planet. That’s a lot. Turtles and tortoises and crocodiles and snakes and spiders and people and birds all fall into this kingdom (you’re saying Duh to me. shhh.) 

Ok, next step (the next smallest circle) for this is PHYLUM. In the PHYLUM CORDATA you get chordates. That’s basically anything with a nerve chord. In most cases this means vertebrate life, but it also includes some fun invertebrates. So, fish, turtles, birds, people, snakes, lizards, dogs etc. 

NEXT step is CLASS. Traditionally the turtles and tortoises have been placed in CLASS REPTILIA, but this is soon to change to their own CLASS CHELONIA because although they share some characteristics with reptiles, they are not in fact closely related to them (fun fact, the crocodilians are getting their own class too)

Still with me? I know this is tough.

You get the idea, we’re basically separating LIKE from NOT LIKE.

Turtles and tortoises part ways at the level of ORDER.



What does that mean? To use a mammal comparison, all mammals are in CLASS MAMMALIA, just like all turtles and tortoises are in CLASS CHELONIA (or Reptilia by the old system). At the level of Order for mammals, you have Order Carnivora (which includes bears, cats, and weasels) and 18 other orders such as Order Primates (which includes monkeys, lemurs, apes, and HUMAN BEINGS).

TLDR: Humans are more closely related to apes and lemurs taxonomically than tortoises are to turtles. 

I commend you for this post. Its important information for lovers of all chelonians. I hesitate to say anything other than that because not only are you obviously right but you actually explain the difference better than most resources I’ve found available to the pet owner or non academic info seeker. So thanks!!

To defend myself (and others I know), when wanting to share some fantastic pictures, info, news, etc with as many people as possible, using both terms as tags gets a larger readership with potential interest in both turtles, tortoises, or either. Doing that you find people with a willingness to look at posts related to either and get a chance to share stuff like this with everyone 🙂 

Lastly I’d like to say, Herpetology FTW!

Hey Snuffy, nice to meet ya. Many of us turtle moms think we biologically mothered our little shelled kids. Just humor us ok? One day you’ll want us to buy you a new pair of tortoise shell glasses, or a black light for your tank that you’ll turn on while you listen to some angst riddled rock music… then we all know who you’ll ask, biologically mothered or not. 🙂  Oh and hey! not all of us can have a face as cute as yours! We have to work at it! 


hi hi.  My name is Snuffy and I’m just chilling here on eid with my mommy who swears too hard that she biologically mothered me. Furthermore, in her vain identity efforts, she smears a green mint mask on her face to better match with green little me and also, to clear up her face because she needs to look fly, no lie, this week.  

t3eesh mara w min ba3d itmoot [you’ll only live once and then you’ll die]” -Snuffy, the insightful turtle.