Show Filters

Turtle Hideout Rocks & Caves

 Turtles, tortoises, and terrapins are three terms used to describe the shelled animals most people simply call “turtles.” While all three falls under the larger umbrella of “turtles,” there are important distinctions between them. The differences in the way they live make planning their enclosures a little more complex. Read more below about the characteristics of each of these shelled creatures to help you plan for your new pet.


Sort By

The term “turtle” is generally used to describe aquatic or semi-aquatic turtles. Turtles have a flat, streamlined shell that allows them to be more hydrodynamic. The Florida Redbelly turtle is a textbook example of an aquatic turtle, but turtles come in an assortment of shapes and sizes. Perhaps the most easily mistaken is the Box turtle, which lives on land and has a dome-shaped shell more like a tortoise. However, this species’ genetics are surprisingly closer to the turtle than the tortoise. “Terrapin” is a term sometimes used to describe semi-aquatic turtles. The name comes from the word for turtles in Algonquin, an Indigenous people, and language native to eastern North America. The Diamondback terrapin is a classic example of this group of reptiles that live in fresh or slightly salted water. Some people consider varieties like The Red-eared Slider terrapins. You’ll notice that their shells are slightly domed but still have a hydrodynamic functionality. Their feet are also webbed, which helps them swim, and their claws help them walk along the ground and dig.

Tortoises, on the other hand, are land-based and have dome-shaped shells. Their heavy shells and stocky legs make swimming incredibly difficult. Tortoises can also retract their head completely into their shells. Their feet indicate a significantly different lifestyle from that of turtles. Tortoises have little to no need to navigate the water, so they have flat, stumpy feet. And although not a physical characteristic, their lifespans can also help you distinguish between turtles and tortoises. Turtles can live up to 20-40 years, while a tortoise can live anywhere from 80-150 years in the right conditions.

Our rocks are suitable for turtles, terrapins, and tortoises. You find all three groups using objects like these in their environment to meet various needs. The main difference you’ll need to prepare for is the water to land ratio. While all types of turtles and tortoises need hydration, an insufficient or excessive amount could be harmful. When it comes to housing your shelled pet, you'll find it most helpful to identify and research the needs of the species you've chosen.