Parts of a Turtle: Useful Turtle Anatomy with Pictures

Turtles are a popular choice of pet and so you may often come across someone who wishes to talk about their pet turtle. They are also an animal which features heavily in various nature documentaries and so it is important that you know how to talk about them and their various parts.

You are now going to look at and learn the names for the different parts of a turtle in the English language. This is a great way to be able to describe these animals and add vital words to your vocabulary.

Turtle Anatomy

Body Parts of a Turtle in English (with Picture)

Different Parts of a Turtle

  • Head
  • Eye
  • Nose
  • Mouth
  • Mandible
  • Neck
  • Front leg
  • Tail
  • Pygal shield
  • Claw
  • Marginal shield
  • Hind leg
  • Costal shell
  • Vertebral shell
  • Nuchal shell

Turtle Parts with Pictures and Examples

Learn these turtle body parts names to enlarge your vocabulary words about animal body parts in English.


The shape and size of a turtle’s head can vary depending on its species and habitat.


A turtle’s eyes are located on the sides of its head, giving it a wide field of vision.


A turtle’s nose is covered in small, sensitive hairs that help it detect scents in the air and water.


A turtle’s mouth is lined with small, sharp teeth that help it bite and chew its food.


Turtles use their mandible to hold and manipulate their food while eating.


The length and flexibility of a turtle’s neck can also affect its ability to swim and move on land.

Front leg

A turtle’s front legs are used for walking, swimming, and digging.


A turtle’s tail is covered in scales and skin, just like the rest of its body.

Pygal shield

The Pygal shield is a protective cover that is designed to keep the Turtle safe from external damage.

Animal Body Parts Vocabulary

Learn useful animal body parts with different types of animals and animals images.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the function of a turtle’s shell?

A turtle’s shell serves as its primary defense mechanism against predators. The shell is composed of two parts: the carapace (top) and the plastron (bottom). These parts are connected at the sides, forming a strong and protective shield for the turtle’s internal organs. The shell also provides support for the turtle’s spine and ribcage.

What are the main components of a turtle’s anatomy?

The main components of a turtle’s anatomy include the head, neck, limbs, tail, and shell. The head contains vital organs such as the brain, eyes, and mouth. The long neck allows the turtle to extend its head out of the shell to reach for food or to get a better view of its surroundings. The limbs of a turtle have evolved for different purposes, such as swimming or digging, depending on the species. The tail helps with balance and stability, while the shell protects the turtle’s internal organs.

How do turtle shells differ between species?

Turtle shells can vary greatly between species in terms of size, shape, and color. Some turtles have flat, streamlined shells for efficiently swimming through water, while others have high-domed shells for protection from predators. The color and pattern of a shell may also help a turtle blend in with its environment, providing camouflage. Additionally, some species have hinges or flaps on their shells, allowing the turtle to withdraw its head and limbs more completely.

What are the classifications of turtle species?

Turtles are classified into three main groups: Cryptodira, which includes most modern turtles and tortoises; Pleurodira, commonly known as side-necked turtles; and the extinct marine turtles Chelonioidea. These classifications are based on the structure of the turtle’s skull and their method of retracting the neck into the shell. Within these groups, turtles are further classified into various families, genera, and species, each exhibiting unique characteristics and behaviors.