Turtles are reptiles. When you hear the word turtle, you probably think of the shell. The top part of the shell is called the carapace and the bottom part the plastron. Other turtle features are dry scarly skin, a sharp-edged beak instead of teeth, good eyesight and hearing and leathery-shelled eggs which they bury in sand.
Over 200 kinds of turtles are known in the world, with 7 reported from Nova Scotia. Three of these are giant marine turtles - the Atlantic Loggerhead, Atlantic Ridley and Atlantic Leatherback - that visit our oceans in summer. These turtles are sometimes often seen from boats or tangled in fishing gear. They nest in more tropical parts of the world. All marine turtles are considered to be endangered species.
On the land we have 4 turtle species. Some people call turtles that live in fresh water "terrapins", and those that live entirely on land, "tortoises". You can call them all turtles. Adult turtles have few enemies except people,, but crows, bears, and raccoons dig up their eggs or eat the hatchlings. Two of these turtle species are considered to "at risk" in Nova Scotia.