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 Turtles are actually reptiles (meaning they are cold blooded) they are easy to recognize by their shell. The shell is the turtles home which it carries along where ever it goes.  Few other animals have such excellent protection. See Related Article on Tortoises, Terrapins and Turtles.

Like other cold-blooded animals, turtles can not live in arctic climates. They feel at home in the tropics and warmer temperature zones. In the regions where there are severe winters they hibernate, in the ground or in the water. 

Some  turtles like the Hawks-Bill live entirely under water.  Other turtles live on land only.  Others can live on land or in water. 

Most kinds of are fresh water turtles. There are forty-four species of turtles in the U.S.A. at least one in each state. 

The  turtles shell covers it's short, broad body. The shell makes up most of the turtle's skeleton. 

Turtles are the only group of animals that have most of their bony parts on the out side their body. 

The top of the shell is called the carapace.  The bottom part called the  plastron is the breastbone and protects the belly.  The carapace and the plastron are joined so that there are openings for the turtles head, legs and tail.