Can you explain me this in a simple way: what's the difference between the Cheloniidae family (6) and one in the family Dermochelyidae?
Do turtles have teeth?

Hi Candy,

I'm not really a sea turtle expert per se, so there are probably more definite taxonomical differences, but from my basic knowledge, leatherback turtles (Dermochelyidae)  have spcific physiological differences that allow them to have a wider northern/southern range than most sea turtles (Cheloniidae)--that is, they can withstand colder temperatures.  The shell is different, too, of course.

Turtles do not have teeth.  There is a hard, sharp edge to the mouth/beak that allow them to bite off pieces of food, but they can't chew.  Herbivorous species of tortoises have long digestive systems and digest their food through hindgut fermentation, similar to ruminants.  Essentially, the food travels through very slowly, allowing them to break down the cellular walls and extract maximum nutrition.  

Hope this helps.  If you need more information on the leatherback sea turtle, let me know specifically what you need and I'll see what I can find out for you.  If you need detailed, scientific information, though, you'll probably have to consult a scholarly journal.  


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Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.


I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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