Have you ever thought about which turtle species are the smallest in the world? Now is the time to find out if you did.
These smallest turtles in the world are very adorable. However, there are still many undiscovered species that are present in the wildlife.
People want to keep tiny turtles as pets these days because they do well in captivity, are easy to care for, and don’t take up much space.
This article talks about the six smallest turtles in the world, where they live, what they eat, and some other interesting facts.
Not many people are aware of these cute small turtles species.
Smallest Turtles in the world
1. Speckled Padloper Turtle
The Speckled Padloper Turtle is one of the smallest turtles in the world. Adult males are about 3 inches (6–8 cm) long, and adult females are about 4 inches (8–10 cm) long. And weigh between 100 and 165 grams.
Also, IUCN claims this species to be endangered. It’s quite hard to track each and every turtle and I am not sure if that is really true at the current time since the data published on IUCN red list is from 2017.
The speckled padloper tortoise is a species of African tortoise that is native to the Republic of South Africa.
The Speckled padloper tortoise is a large and extremely slow-moving reptile with a distinctive pattern of dark spots on its back.
It is also known as the speckled tortoise, speckled pied panda, or the speckled panda-tortoiseshell.
The word “padloper” means “trail walker” in English. This is a reference to the narrow trails and paths in South Africa where you can often find these small turtles.
Even though the speckled cape tortoise is very small and might seem like an easy target for many hungry predators, it is able to stay alive by squeezing into and hiding in cracks in South Africa’s rocky terrain.
This small tortoise has an interesting way of mating as well. Before they mate, the males and females dance by moving their heads back and forth.
A lot of this tortoise’s activities, including mating, tend to happen in the spring. This happens in South Africa from August to October, when it rains a lot and the plants and flowers that the speckled padloper tortoise eats come back out.
Even though this tortoise is called “near threatened” and is the smallest tortoise in the world, not much is known about where it lives and how many of them there are.
Speckled Padloper tortoises are the only type of tortoise with a speckled pattern on their shells. This unique pattern is created when the tortoise sheds its shell and the skin is left behind.
These tortoises are found in many parts of the world and can be seen in many habitats including deserts, grasslands, and forests.
They have been introduced to many different areas from South Africa to Australia and New Zealand and have since spread to many different countries including Russia, United States Nation, and Europe.
The body of a tortoise is divided into six sections: the shell, the head or carapace or chelys (head), the stomach or rumen (tongue) which is quite large for a tortoise, the pelvic girdle ( movable underbelly), the legs, and the cloaca (urinary orifice).
The head is very large and deep compared to the body; it has a large eye, and nose as well as a short snout or rostral.
In South Africa, they are known as “Zugvlei” but in other parts of the world, even this name is not used. The color of the animal is often either yellow, orange, or brown.
Several subspecies have been described but they all have similar characteristics, which include being a medium-sized tortoise with a long neck and long legs.
The differences are mainly in the shape of the shell although this has only been observed to be in some areas and even then it varies greatly
The Speckled Padloper tortoise is a small, smooth-skinned animal that has been found also in the Australian outback.
The tortoise has a long neck and head, and a rounded body with short legs. The tortoise’s shell is made up of many tiny scales that are shaped like dots or spots, and the tortoise has very sharp claws.
The entire front of the shell is brown in the summer but turns bright orange during a cold snap in winter.
Because of a lack of predators and the lack of water, this species has adapted to living in the country’s desert landscape.
The Speckled Padloper tortoise’s diet consists mainly of native plants like cacti, succulents, and acacia trees: they eat only what they can find in the wild, and they rarely eat other animals.
These animals feed mostly on seeds of the native plants in their habitat, and they will even venture into nearby settlements to get food.
The Speckled Padloper tortoise’s shell is easily spotted with its bright orange color during the winter months.
Speckled Padloper Tortoise Origin History
The Speckled Padloper Tortoise origin was first recorded in 1816 by John Edward Gray in his book “The Natural History of Selborne” (1817).
Gray described it as “a species of Tortoiseshell which I have named the Specked Padloper.” He also described its natural habitat as “a variety of rock and ledges under thickly wooded trees, with a little ground grass.
The Speckled Padloper Tortoise is not currently in an endangered state.
It is abundant and widespread on the southern African mainland. It can be found in mountainous areas of South Africa and in lowland coastal plains around Cape Town.
The Speckled Padloper Tortoise is in the family Scincidae, one of ten families in the order Testudines.
The Speckled Padloper Tortoise is not currently threatened by any other species. A rare species, it does not appear to be a target of conservation efforts.
It has been recorded as one of up to 20 ” not recorded” tortoises in the South African mainland, and as one of up to seven “not recorded” species in Kruger National Park.
2. North American Bog Turtle
The North American bog turtle is one of the most common turtles found in North America. It is a species of aquatic turtle that can be found in fresh and brackish water.
The North American bog turtle comes second in the list of the smallest turtles in the world.
The bog turtle, which is only 4 inches long, is the smallest turtle in all of North America.
Although the North American bog turtle is a protected species, it has become very popular in recent years due to its beautiful markings and its natural habitat.
In the past, this species was considered to be a threatened animal. Nowadays, it is listed as an endangered species. The reason for this change in status is unclear.
The North American bog turtle origin was first discovered in North America in the early 1900s and it is still a mystery.
This article will explain how this animal came to be and what are the main theories about its origin.
The first scientific study of the North American bog turtle was conducted in 1945 and it was then that they were first discovered.
The turtles have been found in North America and Cuba, but a lot more evidence of their existence in other places exists.
Until 2002 that information was not readily available to the public or scientists because most of the turtles were known only from museum specimens.
The most common name for this animal is the North American bog turtle and scientists have named it as such because it originates from the Northern United States.
This animal has also been called the pine turtle, turtledove, rock turtle, and marsh turtle. Scientists believe that these turtles are mainly from a small area but there may be some populations of these turtles in other
3. The Musk Stinkpot Turtle
The name comes from their smell, which is described as “musky” and “stinky”.
The Musk Stinkpot turtle comes third in the list of the smallest turtles in the world.
The musk turtle also called the “stinkpot” turtle, is from the U.S. state of Missouri. It is one of the smallest turtle species in the world, measuring only 2 to 4 inches (6 to 10cm) long.
These turtles are easy to spot because their shells and skin are dark greys to black. They also have two prominent, thin yellow stripes that run down each side of their head and neck.
But what gives the stinkpot its name is the fact that it has special scent glands. This is a way for the turtle to protect itself from would-be predators and threats, as it lets off a very bad smell.
The musk stinkpot turtle is a common pet turtle, even though it can sometimes smell bad. They can also live up to 30 years, which is pretty long.
Musk turtles rarely bask, yet their tanks still require heat lamps and basking platforms.
Lakes, ponds, rivers, and clear water tiny streams are their native environments. They prefer the shallower portions of the body of water in which they inhabit.
They like to soak up the sun and can be seen on tree trunks or branches dangling over rivers and ponds.
Musk turtles, like other aquatic turtles, appear to be mostly carnivorous, however, they will also consume plants such as duckweed. When keeping turtles as pets, feed them turtle food with shrimp, bloodworms, and mealworms as supplements.
You can keep this little turtle as a pet, but it will require a tank that allows it to swim easily. The turtle will not require deep water or a substrate-covered aquarium bottom (like gravel).
If you want to make the tank look nicer, you can surround it with medium-sized pebbles. The water must be shallow so that the turtle may reach the bottom and extend to the top without paddling too much.
Because musk turtles are quite active, it is best to prepare a tank with at least 30 gallons of water for each turtle.
You must keep an eye out for the male who is overly eager to bother the female (in case you decide to house the two together). If the male starts bothering the female, separate them.
Furthermore, keeping two male musk turtles in the same aquarium is not recommended.
4. The Kemp’s Ridley
Kemp’s ridleys are the smallest known species of sea turtle. The fish was first submitted for identification in 1906 by a fisherman from Key West, Florida, named Richard M. Kemp.
The Kemp’s ridley turtle comes fourth in the list of the smallest turtles in the world.
Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are the smallest marine turtles in the world, and they are also the most endangered.
The top shell, or carapace, of adult measures between 24 and 28 inches (60 to 70 centimeters) and weighs about 100 pounds (45 kilograms) on average.
This turtle mostly eats swimming crabs, but it may also eat fish, jellyfish, and many different kinds of mollusks.
It hunts for food from the Yucatán Peninsula to southern Florida, but mostly on the continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico.
Although adults are primarily found in the Gulf of Mexico, juveniles have been spotted as far north as Nova Scotia and even in the eastern North Atlantic.
Kemp’s ridley turtles, like all other sea turtles, are marine reptiles that need to come to the surface to breathe. Adult female sea turtles come back to land to lay their eggs in the sand.
They are very good at finding their way back to the beach where they were born decades before.
The Kemp’s ridley turtle’s head is triangular, and its beak is slightly hooked. The hatchlings have dark colours on both sides. Adults usually have a grayish-green top and a pale, yellowish bottom.
The top shell (carapace) is usually as wide as it is long. Each of the front flippers has one claw, while the back flippers can have one or two.
No one knows for sure how long Kemp’s ridleys live, but like other sea turtles, they probably live a long time. They reach adulthood at about 13 years old and are thought to live at least 30 years.
5. The Striped Mud Turtle
A small aquatic turtle, the striped mud turtle’s oval shell can grow to a maximum of four inches in length (10 centimeters).
The Striped mud turtle comes fifth on the list of the smallest turtles in the world.
Even though striped mud turtles look a lot like musk turtles, their shells are flatter. These cute turtles are among the smallest in the world.
The carapace (upper shell) of this species is brown with three pale stripes, and the plastron (lower shell) is a rusty orange (plastron).
The large heads of striped mud turtles are typically marked with two narrow yellow stripes on either side (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001).
A striped mud turtle is an omnivore, so it eats fish, insects, algae, plants, and even dead animals in its natural environment.
If you keep it as a pet, you can feed it cut fish and earthworms. On the other hand, you can also give it plant leaves and seeds.
Striped mud turtles live in Florida’s ditches and ponds in the wild.
Even though they are cute, they aren’t the most friendly pets. On the other hand, you shouldn’t touch or pick them up with your hands because they bite hard.
And because the mud turtle bites, it is better suited as a pet for older children.
This species acts differently than others in its group. For example, instead of sunbathing, it spends a lot of time wandering or relaxing at the bottom of the tank.
Since it likes to walk and swim, you should keep these small turtles in bigger containers.
Even though mud turtles don’t spend much time in the sun, it’s still important to build a platform with a light above it. Their water must be between 70 and 80 degrees and can’t be colder than 70.
They are called “muddy” because they like to dig in mud when they are hibernating. But clay shouldn’t be in their enclosures because animals in captivity shouldn’t hibernate.
6. The Eastern Box Turtle
The last turtle on our list of the smallest in the world is the Eastern box turtle. This cute species of turtle is most often seen in the wild.
The Eastern box turtle comes sixth in the list of the smallest turtles in the world.
It has a hard shell called a carapace that is shaped like a dome and has furrows and ridges all over it. These grooves and ridges are getting deeper as time goes on. Also, the box turtle’s toes are kind of webbed.
This species of smallest turtle is easy to tell apart because it is only 5 to 6 inches long and has a small hook on the top of its mouth.
Box turtles are common near ponds, meadows, forests, and fields in the eastern United States. Since they are so popular as pets, you can also find them in other parts of the US.
Even though they mostly live in ponds, eastern box turtles live on land. Since they can be kept as pets legally, they need a terrarium instead of an aquarium.
When their owners decide they don’t want them anymore or have to move, they let them go into the wild.
In the wild, they eat snails, bugs, meat, and greens with leaves like dandelion, clover, curly kale, and leafy salads. If you get one as a pet, you should feed it about 80% flowers and vegetables and 20% fruits.
Box turtles can live in an outdoor enclosure in the summer and spring, but in the fall and winter, they should be brought inside.
Because of their tall domes, box turtles look like tortoises. As pets, they should be kept in dry places like vivariums or tortoise boxes made of wood.
On the other hand, just like any other kind of turtle, they need water and a UVB light. Keeping them outside will do the job.
They are also interesting because they have a good way to defend themselves. When they feel threatened, they all curl up inside their shell and close them. Because of this, only a small number of animals can eat them.
The Eastern Box Turtle (EBT) is a small turtle that lives in the wetlands of northeastern Asia.
It is the most popular of all freshwater turtles, and it has been used as a pet or kept as a food animal for thousands of years. It is also one of the rarest species in its natural environment, so it is very hard to find one alive today.
If you want to own a turtle, I recommend renting them from a pet store or zoo. However, if you want to own it and raise it then keep it in an aquarium.
You need to make the right choice of species and size of turtle for the aquarium you are going to keep them in. There are many different types of turtles that have their own locality.
If your aquarium is large enough to house more than one type of turtle, select one at a time and place it into the aquarium.
Turtles are really easy to care for depending on the size, sort of life stage, and environment in which you keep them for. The most important thing to do is select a turtle that will fit into your aquarium system.
Here is an interesting article you can read about turtles that can swim.
I hope you had fun learning about the little guys with this article about the world’s smallest turtle.
Do you also know any other smallest turtles in the world? Please let us know in the comment section below.