Hermann’s Tortoise

The Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni) is a small to medium-sized reptile in the Testudinoidea family of land chelonians. It is related to the Greek Tortoise (Testudo graeca). 

The Hermann’s Tortoise has a slightly domed, rounded shell, called a carapace. The carapace is black and pale-yellow with markings, but the colour fades with age, and becomes grey or straw-coloured. Its underbelly shell, called a plastron, is creamy-beige. It has no teeth, but it has a strong, short beak. It has scaly brownish-grey, stumpy legs with five claws. Its back legs are thicker than its front legs. The tip of its tail has a spur (a horny, short spike). 

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Spider Tortoise

The Spider Tortoise (Pyxis arachnoides) is a reptile in the Testudinidae family. It is named after the pattern on its shell. 

The Spider Tortoise has a web-like pattern of yellow lines on its dark-brown carapace (upper shell). It has a dark head with yellow spots. It has a yellow, semi-hinged underbelly – the under shell is called a plastron. It pulls its head into its shell for protection. Its legs and tail are brown. 

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Florida Horse Conch

The Florida Horse Conch (Triplofusus papillosus) is a large tropical marine (saltwater) gastropod mollusc in the Fasciolariidae family of sea spindle snails and tulip snails. It is not a true conch shell from the Strombidae family of sea snails.

The Florida Horse Conch is greyish-white or brownish with a light-brown or dark-brown periostracum, which is the thin coating on its shell. It has a long siphonal canal and up to 10 whorls around its shell. It can retract the soft part of its body entirely into its shell and close the operculum (lid). The soft part of its body is bright orange. 

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European Pond Snail

The European Pond Snail (Radix peregra) is an air-breathing, freshwater mollusc in the Lymnaeidae family of pond snails. It is an aquatic pulmonate gastropod. It is an invertebrate because it does not have a backbone. Its shell is its exo-skeleton (outside skeleton).

The European Pond Snail has a brown shell that spirals clockwise. It has four whorls with fine grooves. The last whorl is next to the opening. Its tentacles are short, and the posterior end of its foot is round.

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Cambodia Land Snail

The Cambodia Land Snail (Amphidromus atricallosus classiarius) is a tropical, air-breathing invertebrate gastropod mollusc in the Camaenidae family of arboreal (tree-living) pulmonate land snails. An invertebrate does not have a backbone and gastropod means stomach-footed. 

The Cambodia Land Snail can be varied in colour, often quite colourful but a few species can be dark, with a smooth shell that can be thin and fragile or heavy and solid. Different species have different colours, and can have varied number of whorls, and the direction of the way its shell spirals. It can be dextral shell-coiling (right-handed) or sinistral shell-coiling (left-coiling). The photographed snail is sinistral with a heavy shell. It has 6-8 pale-coloured whorls. It has a large aperture. Its ‘foot’ (soft body) is brown.

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Russian Tortoise

The Russian Tortoise (Agrionemys horsfieldii) is a small chelonian reptile in the Testudinidae family. It is also known as the Afghan Tortoise, the Central Asian Tortoise, Horsfield’s Tortoise, the Steppe Tortoise, or the Four-Clawed Tortoise.

The Russian Tortoise can be various colours, but it usually has a brown or grey-black top dome-shaped shell, called a carapace. It has faded yellow-beige markings between its scutes (scales). It has a paler bottom shell, called a plastron. Its body is straw-yellow and brown. It has a small head and brown eyes. It has four toes on its thick, stumpy legs. 

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Sundial Sea Snail

The Sundial Sea Snail (Architectonica perspectiva) is a marine (saltwater) gastropod mollusc. It is also known as the Staircase Shell. Gastropod means stomach-footed.

The Sundial Sea Snail has a white to yellowish-brown cone-shaped shell, lighter at the edges, and lighter underneath. The spirals of the shell have shades of black, white, and brown. Its long thin body and tentacles are striped. It has a horny, dark-brown operculum. The operculum is attached at the muscle to the upper surface of the back part of the snail’s ‘foot.’ 

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Common Marine Hermit Crab

The Common Marine Hermit Crab (Pagurus bernhardus) is a saltwater aquatic decapod (10-armed) crustacean. It is also known as the Soldier Crab.

Hermit crabs include the Marine Hermit Crab, which lives in saltwater, and the Land Hermit Crab, which is terrestrial in tropical regions.

The Common Marine Hermit Crab is a crab inside a shell – its mobile home. It finds empty mollusc shells to live in. It has a long soft body – not like land crabs which have a hard exo-skeleton – which is why it looks for a hard shell to protect it. It can put its whole body inside the shell. As it grows, it looks for larger shells.

The Common Marine Hermit Crab has a spirally-curved soft body (abdomen) with a columella on the tip, which is used to hold onto the shell it occupies. It has 10 appendages (legs, called pereiopods), but two of them are claws, called nippers, pinchers, or chelipeds. Its large black compound eyes are at the end of an eyestalk. It has gills to breathe (like fish).

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Golden Apple Snail

The Golden Apple Snail (Pomacea canaliculata) is a freshwater South American snail. It is an aquatic gastropod mollusc (mollusk). It is also called the Channeled Apple Snail.

The Golden Apple Snail has a boneless foot with a brown globe-shaped shell, called a mantle. It has both external gills (like a fish) on the right-hand side of its body to enable it to breathe underwater, and an internal lung on the left-hand side of its body (like a frog) to enable it to breath on land. This means that the Golden Apple Snail lives in the water and on land – it is amphibious, like a frog or a toad. It also has an operculum, which is a little lid, that enables it to close the shell entrance to prevent it from drying out when it is buried in the mud during dry seasons.

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Fallacy: Tortoises will come out of their shell if they are frightened

Tortoises and turtles will come out of their shell if frightened. This is not true. This is a fallacy.

Actually, the reverse is true. Tortoises pull their head and feet into their shell so that predators cannot harm or eat them. They are too slow to run away, so hiding in their shell is their way of protecting themselves.

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Bull-Mouth Helmet Snail

The Bull-Mouth Helmet Snail (Cypraecassis rufa) is a large marine snail – a gastropod mollusk in the Cassidae family. It is also called a Cameo Shell.

The Bull-Mouth Helmet is a snail with its shell. The shell is shaped like a helmet. The shell is large, thick, and creamy-beige-coloured with a red-orange sheen. It is coiled with ridges (called varices) and bumps. It has a blunt knob at the narrow end (the anterior end). On the wide end (the posterior end), there is a spire and a protoconch. The shell has an orange-cream long, narrow opening.

The snail inside is a large muscular foot-shaped gastropod. The snail has a large head with eyes at the base of each of the two tentacles (like antennae).

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Bell’s Hinge-Back Tortoise

The Bell’s Hinge-Back Tortoise (Kinixys belliana) is a reptile – it is medium-sized African chelonian.

The Bell’s Tortoise is a light brown colour. It has a hinge on the back of its top shell (carapace). It has a 90-degree hinge, which protects its back legs and tail. The hinge is a broad band of flexible connective tissue. The shell is slightly domed and elongated. It has five claws on each front foot.

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African Helmeted Terrapin

The African Helmeted Terrapin (Pelomedusa subrufa) is also known as the Marsh Terrapin, the Crocodile Terrapin, or the African Side-Necked Terrapin. It is a semi-aquatic reptile from Africa, like tortoises and turtles – a chelonian.

The African Helmeted Terrapin looks like a helmet. Instead of its neck sticking in and out, it has a side-necked position where it places its head sideways in its shell. It black or brown shell (carapace) is slightly domed. Its tail and legs are grey-brown, and its underbelly is yellowish. The male has a long thick tail. The female has a shorter tail.

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