Turtles are reptiles characterised by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield. The earliest known turtles date from 215 million years ago, making turtles one of the oldest reptile groups and a more ancient group than lizards and snakes. They breathe air and do not lay eggs underwater, although many species live in or around water. Turtles, particularly small terrestrial and freshwater turtles, are commonly kept as pets.


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