The smallest species of turtle is the Bog Turtle of North America. The smallest tortoise is the Speckled Cape Padloper. Both are under four inches long.
The bog turtle is the smallest turtle in North America, measuring about 4 inches when fully grown. Adult bog turtles weigh an average of 3.9 ounces. They are native to the Eastern United States, living on the edge of woodland areas. They spend most of their time burrowed in the mud to keep away from predators, but bog turtles must also have considerable sunlight, to manage their metabolic processes through thermoregulation. Since this turtle has a low reproduction rate (3 eggs per year), they are protected under the Endangered Species Act.
The speckled padloper tortoise is the smallest tortoise in the world with a maximum shell length of four inches. The speckled padloper lives is hot rocky habitats and blends into those habitats with its speckled shell. Since they spend much of their time under rocky areas, to stay cool in the heat, scientists don’t know very much about the specie’s habits.
There are a few ways to answer this question. Turtles belong to a group called Chelonians, which include tortoises, terrapins, and turtles. The smallest Chelonian is the Speckled Cape Tortoise of South Africa, which is 6-8 cm long. The difference between tortoises, terrapins and turtles are what follows:
Tortoises are mostly land dwelling and keep water in their shells.
Turtles are mostly aquatic and have webbed toes to help them swim. They also have a flatter back and more rounded shell than tortoises.
Terrapins are a mix between tortoises and turtles: they live both on the land and in the water, and have characteristics that can be described as a combination between turtles and tortoises.
That being said, the smallest species of turtle is the Bog Turtle. They are in the eastern United States, and grow to about 11 cm long. They are particularly rare because of habitat destruction. Many states have banned removing the Bog Turtles from their natural habitats.
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