I like turtles and turtle shells. The turtle shell has an upper portion called the carapace and a lower portion called the pastron. Not every creature gets to go out with a uniquely decorated house attached to his back. In fact a house that within a second, in some types of turtles, can clamp its occupant so tightly behind the front entrance that a blade of grass can hardly fit through. These types of turtles have a moveable hinge like joint in the plastron. What a blessed creature the turtle must be in that regard; i.e. to have an instant safehouse. According to the Institute in Basic Life “Character Sketches”, ‘The Hebrew word for tortoise means “canopy”. It comes from a root which means “to establish”. This could refer to the fixed “established” home God provided for the turtle in its shell. The tortoise is safe from its predators as long as it remains inside its shell. We have the same security in our Heavenly Father.’ “The name of the Lord is a strong tower’ the righteous run to it and are safe.” (Prov. 18:10)
So meet Edwin. Edwin is a Northern Map Turtle, whose shell does not even close completely. In natural habitats, his type relies on vigilance, swimming and hiding for protection. He lives in a plastic “lagoon” that is 5″ tall and 16″ long and wider on one end. It has a little “island” in the center, where I have put a miniature tree for him, as well as one down in the water with his rocks and driftwood. In the picture below, Edwin is burrowed in the bottom of his lagoon among the round, smooth stones. Turtles don’t have a good sense of hearing, but they do have a sensitive smelling ability. They also have keen eyesight and can even perceive color, favoring red, orange and yellow as the most appetizing colors.
Edwin is able to absorb oxygen through the skin on his neck and cloacle area enabling him to remain under water for long periods of time. Norther Map turtles prefer to catch their food as it drifts near them in the water, and this can be water plants, baby shrimp, mealworms, earthworms, or tiny bits of meat. Edwin must be very private about his meals, as I’ve yet to see him take a bite. He enjoys spending time sunning up on his piece of driftwood, which puts him closer to the lamp. He seems to relish perching on the uppermost portion which can get very warm.
Turtles have been my favorite “thing” for as long as I can remember. Maybe “The Tortoise and the Hare” made a great impression on me, I don’t know. I can sort of relate to the turtle. What I lack in speed, I often make up for in determination and perseverance. Whether it’s a small task or a 5k run, slow and steady is generally my default.
Interestingly, the weight a box turtle can bear on its shell would be similar to me being able to bear up under the weight of a couple of large African elephants. Since the turtle shell does not allow for a diaphragm, the turtle must move its legs and other muscles to assist in breathing. Some species of turtles are known for making some pretty strange sounds during mating and nesting seasons, and all without the help of vocal cords.
If you are interested in knowing more about turtles and how they actually defy evolution, check out this link with Answers in Genesis. What part of creation trips your trigger and how does it point to a Master Designer?