Why does a turtle shell turn soft?

Introduction: The Mystery of Softening Turtle Shells

Turtle shells are one of the most recognizable and unique features of these reptiles. They are essential for their survival, providing protection against predators and other environmental stressors. However, sometimes, turtle shells can turn soft, causing significant harm and reducing their ability to defend themselves. This phenomenon has puzzled scientists and conservationists for a long time, and understanding the causes behind it is crucial for preserving these important creatures.

Anatomy of a Turtle Shell: Understanding Its Composition

Turtle shells are made up of two main parts: the carapace and the plastron. The carapace is the hard, upper portion of the shell, while the plastron is the flat, lower part. The shell is composed of bone, cartilage, and keratin, which is the same protein found in human nails and hair. It is a living part of a turtle’s body, and its growth and repair depend on several factors, including diet, environmental conditions, and genetics. The shell is also covered in scutes, which are made of keratin and provide additional protection to the turtle.

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