Can Turtles Come Out of their Shell? THE TRUTH!

Turtles are so attached to their shells that it’s impossible for them to get them off of them. In fact, turtle shells grow with them. When a turtle’s skeleton is put together, 50 bones make up its shell. These bones make up their spine and rib cage.

No. A turtle doesn’t carry around a shell. It’s part of its body. When you build a shell, you start with a plasteron and build it up from there with bone plates. It is attached to the carapace and the ribs are fully fused with it.

This is how it works: It grows on top of the bone. This layer is called avascular layer, and it helps the growth of scutes. These are very large, tough, and layered scales made of the same thing as your fingernails.

The skeleton system, veins, vessels, and a lot of other things are all connected to the shell. Thus, it is not possible to separate the turtle from its shell and keep him alive.

Can You remove a Turtle from its Shell without Killing it?

Nope. The shell of a turtle is its spine. In the same way that your own backbone can’t be pulled out of your body, you can’t separate the shell and body. As a person, I think Looney Toons and Super Mario spread the myth that a turtle is just wearing an empty shell like a naked person in a barrel. But, I’m off the point.

Let the turtle stay in its shell.

Animals are not people, so treat them well. It’s the least we can do.


You might not have known that a turtle’s shell is more than just a place to live. It is also a part of their bodies that protects them from predators and the outside world, too.

It is the only animal that has shells that are part of its body. Turtles and tortoises are the only ones that do that.

Having shells is very important for turtles of all kinds, and even turtles that live in your house! They protect turtles and help with a lot of biological processes in their bodies.

Owners need to know why their turtle needs a shell so that they can care for it. People should also know what will happen if the shell is broken. To learn more, keep reading.

Why Do Turtles Have Shells?

A lot of things happen to turtles that make them need shells.

However, the most important reasons are to protect and store things.

A turtle has two main parts:

Many people think of the turtle’s back as its carapace, which is the top part that looks like its shell.

  • Plastron is the bottom part of the turtle that can be thought of as its belly.
  • Carapace – the top part that many people consider to be the turtle’s back.

It has a spine and rib cage built in. The plastron protects important parts of the body, like the lungs and heart.

Can Turtles Come Out of their Shell

Turtles also have shells to protect them from predators. There are times when it comes in handy for a predator to bite into a turtle. A lot of turtle species in the United States are eaten by raccoons, river otters, minks, dogs, cats, and foxes.

Many of these predators have strong jaws, but a turtle shell is no match for them.

Shells have hard scales called scutes that can be as hard as bone.

Many turtle species can also hide in their shell.

Turtles can tuck their legs inside their shells so that they don’t get hurt. Some people can even bend their necks or pull their heads right in. But, this all depends on how the shell is made, and how it looks.

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In order to get away from predators, species that are more aquatic are more likely to dive into deep water, rather than hide in their shells

In fact, the shell is used for a lot more than just to protect.

It also stores water, fat, and waste. The shell is a turtle’s main source of phosphate, carbon dioxide, and many other minerals (e.g. calcium, magnesium, and sodium).

Where Did Their Shell Come From?

Scutes: Most turtle shells are covered with hard, scaly scales called scutes.

If you look at a turtle, you might not know for sure how it’s shell came to be.

It has been a long-running debate in the scientific community about why turtles have shells and how they get them.

Scientists used to think that turtle shells were made of their backbones and ribs at first. However, it turned out to be more than that. It not only has their skeleton inside of it, but it also has bones on the outside.

Where Did Their Shell Come From

Among scientists, there was a lot of disagreement about the first step in the process that led to their shells.

A lot of people thought that their ancestors were turtles without shells. This species then started to have ribs that were a little more spread out than before. However, this theory was controversial because this type of evolution is not what you would expect. If the ribs were made wider, they would not have been very protective and would have made it hard to move and breathe.

It’s possible that the two parts of a turtle’s shell, the carapace and the plastron, came about separately.

This might show that the plastron and the carapace used to do two different things.

The oldest turtle, Odontochelys semitestacae, has been around for 220 million years, which is a long time. Fossils of this species were found to have only a plastron (the bottom part of the shell) and not a body shell. This means that the plastron came first in history, and the carapace came a million years later.

However, this is still very much debated.

In general, it is agreed that the modern turtle first appeared in the late Triassic Period. The species Proganochelys is thought to have been the first turtle of its kind. People who lived in this species had both the carapace and the plastron in their shell.

This is a very fancy box turtle.

They all have shells.

Can A Turtle Survive Without A Shell?

The spine and ribs of a turtle are attached to the inside of its shell, which makes them very strong.

The shell of a turtle is very important for basic survival. There are some things that you can do with a turtle’s shell and keep it alive. It’s not true! They might not be able to live for a few minutes or even seconds without it.

A turtle’s shell is made up of bones and nerve endings that it needs to live and work.

There are rib cages, spinal cords, and nerve endings in turtles’ bodies. The shell is an important part of their anatomy, as are their limbs. It is made up of bone, nerves, and blood vessels, and all of these things work together.

The shell of a turtle has nerves in it that make it possible for them to feel when you touch them.

Can A Turtle Survive Without A Shell

It all has nerves and blood vessels that connect it to the body of the turtle. It’s already part of their body. No one can tell the turtle’s bones from its internal organs because there is no wall.

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Not only does it protect their internal organs, but vertebrates can’t live without their spinal cord. The spinal cord is the link between the brain and the nerves. Without the spinal cord, no animal would be able to move its muscles.

Without a shell, turtles would be the same as an animal with no skin if they didn’t have one.

In the end, a turtle’s shell is too important to lose.

It’s also important to think about the turtle shell’s three other roles:

Many predators in a turtle’s habitat eat their prey with their teeth. It’s also possible that a shell is strong enough to keep any bites from being very bad.

pH buffering: This makes the blood pH less acidic so that oxygen and other important molecules can move through the body.
Calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphate, CO2, water, fat, and waste are all stored there.

It also serves as the main storage area for these things. All of these nutrients are important for the normal functioning of their bodies and metabolism.

Can Turtles Leave Their Shells?

A turtle can’t lose its shell. Their shell is as much a part of them as our skeleton is a part of us. Nerves, skin, ribs, and the spinal cord connect the turtle to its shell.

However, a turtle can break or split their shell.

Unfortunately, this can be a very bad thing for pet turtles.

Fractures and breaks can happen if they fall out of their tank, are dropped, or are stepped on.

They come in two main types:

  • Depression breaks down.
  • Shell fragments are missing.

In a depression fracture, there is a break in the middle of the carapace, or shell (i.e. the top part). This can hurt the spinal column. They may get better on their own, like a turtle shell.

If there are shell fragments that aren’t there, they can be small and not make a big deal, or big and dangerous.

Can Turtles Leave Their Shells

First, take your turtle to the vet if its shell breaks. Physical exams and radiographs may be done by the vet to see what is broken and how bad the damage is.

The vet may use a simple method like sticky tape to fix a few small fractures. Bridges are used when taping is not an option. Plate-like implants are surgically attached to the shell, and then the shell is stitched back together to make the bridge.

Glues, cements, resins, and acrylics are some of the hard and semi-permanent dressings that some vets use to cover up wounds. Some of these materials have chemicals that are bad for turtles. People should not use these techniques because they are very toxic and have long-term bad effects.

It is possible to feel the warmth of the sun on turtles’ backs because they have nerves in their shell and can sense it.

  • Dry Docking

The shell of a turtle should be kept out of the water when it is hurt. Water is often full of algae or bacteria that could spread to the injured area. You can learn more about this process, which is called “dry docking,” in this video.

Dry docking is a way to keep the turtle from getting wet.

After a shell breaks, it can be hard to get back into the water. It all depends on where the shell is broken. The main goal of your turtle’s recovery period is to get them back to being able to live and be comfortable.

Because many turtles need water to stay hydrated and eat, fluids may have to be given to the turtle during this “dry docking” period.

Are Turtles Born With Shells?

They are born with shells.

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Turtles will always have their shells with them, no matter where they go.

Yes. It’s the same for every turtle. Other reptiles shed their skin all the time. Turtles don’t have to worry about that. It grows as the turtle gets bigger.

That’s a good question.

A turtle has two parts: its shell and its skeleton.

  • One is the exoskeleton with the dermal bones, which is where the shell is kept, and the other is the body itself.
  • The second is the endoskeleton, which is the skeleton inside.

When the turtle is in the egg, both of these skeletons start to form.

In the beginning, the mother turtle lays eggs.

After the egg is laid, the embryos then grow a structure called a notochord to help them grow. During the same time, structures called somites start to grow as well.

The first sign that the embryo is making a shell is when a ridge forms on the side surface. There is then a ridge that goes all the way around the outside of the carapace. It is called the carapacial ridge, and it is on the front of your face. Bones for the turtle are also forming at the same time

Carapace covers the outside layer of skin on their ribs, so they don’t have any skin.

It is not like many other reptiles. The ribs don’t go all the way to the bottom of the turtle to protect the heart and lungs. Instead, they stay inside the carapace and are part of it. When the vertebrae bones are put together, the top parts of them also join with the carapace.

Carapace and plastron are then covered by keratinous scales, which are made of wood.

Turtles have 50 bones on their bodies that aren’t found in any other vertebrates except tortoises, which is why turtles are unique in this group.

An adult turtle will have 59 bones in their skin. There are 40 bones at the top of the shell, and nine at the bottom.

Growing A Shell

There are eggs laid by the mother turtle when a turtle is very young.

  • In the beginning, the embryo grows the notochord and the somites, which eventually lead to the spine.
  • The embryo now looks more like a turtle because the carapacial ridge has formed, making it look like one.
  • There is a lot of growth in the carapace (the top of the shell), and bones start to form.
  • During the growth of the carapace, the plastron, the bones of the ribs, and the vertebrae also form.
  • This is how the carapace looks now.
  • The ribs connect to the vertebrae, and the spinal column is joined to the carapace by the vertebrae.
  • They then cover their body parts with scales, such as their carapace and their plastron.
  • Turtle Pulling Its Head Inwards
  • Several turtles will hide their heads and legs inside their shells to stay safe.


An important part of a turtle is their shell. In the same way, it is part of them. It has a lot of important bones and places to store water, fat, and waste.

It has been debated for a long time why turtles had shells and what they did. Regardless of what the shell was used for in the past, it is important for a modern turtle to have one in order to live.

Their shell protects their vital organs from predators and has a lot of nerves and bones inside. Shells have hard scales called scutes that can be as hard as bone.

If a turtle’s shell is broken or hurt, it could be fatal. When people own turtles, they should know how important the shell is and why turtles shouldn’t be dropped.

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