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Reptiles Guide

Fictional turtles

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Turtles and tortoises are depicted in Western culture as, snapping turtles aside,[1] easygoing, patient and wise creatures. Due to their long lifespan, slow movement and wrinkled appearance, they are often implicated in myths about the origin of the Earth.

Contents

Turtles in popular culture

In comics

  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are comic-book characters whose adventures have been adapted for TV and film. They are:
    • Leonardo
      Michaelangelo
      Raphael
      Donatello
  • There is a Turtle in B.C.
  • In the anime and manga of Love Hina, a flying sea turtle named Tama-Chan is owned by the character Mutsumi Otohime.
  • Son Goku from Dragon Ball uses "Turtle Style" Martial Arts, the "Kame-Hame-Ha" itself translates to Turtle Destruction Wave.Master Roshi has a pet sea turtle known as just turtle.
  • There is a turtle in Pogo named Churchy LaFemme.
  • There is a turtle in Over the Hedge named Verne.
  • There is a book by Dr.Seuss known as "Yertle the Turtle", in which Yertle is the king of the pond of Salamasond.

In film

Bert the turtle
  • Bert the Turtle is a character in Duck and Cover
    Cecil Turtle is a character in Looney Tunes
    In Japanese science fiction, a fire-breathing flying turtle named Gamera is the star of his own series of giant monster movies.
    In the 2003 Disney-Pixar film Finding Nemo there is a sea turtle character named Crush, known for his "surfer dude" philosophies. His son "Squirt" later becomes an exchange student at Nemo's school.
    In 2002, Dana Carvey dressed as a turtle and asked, "Am I not turtly enough for the turtle club?" in the film The Master of Disguise.

In literature

  • Michael Ende's books Momo (1973) and The Neverending Story (1979) feature, respectively, the tortoise Cassiopeia, who can see into the future and display messages on her shell, and the giant, wise swamp turtle Morla. Some other works of his also feature turtles and tortoises.
    In the books by Terry Pratchett, the Discworld rests on the back of the gigantic star-turtle Great A'Tuin. In the Discworld novel Small Gods the Great God Om manifests as a tortoise.
    The Turtle (also known as Maturin) appears in a number of Stephen King's novels, including It, and The Dark Tower series. It is a guardian of the beam, and a nursery rhyme from Roland's world opens with "See the turtle of enormous girth, on his shell he holds the Earth".
    Esio Trot is a children's book written by Roald Dahl that centres around a man who uses an array of tortoises to help him romance the woman who lives in the flat below him. Esio Trot is tortoise spelt backwards.
    The Mock Turtle in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. In the illustration by John Tenniel, the Mock Turtle is shown as a turtle with the head of a calf, front legs that resemble oysters, and the back legs of a sheep, referencing the real ingredients of mock turtle soup.
    The book "Old Turtle" by Douglas Wood and illustrated by Cheng-Khee Chee features a title character that fufills the wise old turtle stereotype, giving insight about the nature of the world and the nature of God.

In video games

  • The various species of Koopa including King Bowser in the Mario games are based on turtles and tortoises.
    The Squirtle, Wartortle, and Blastoise species and the Torkoal and Shuckle species from the Pokémon series are based on sea turtles and tortoises, respectively.
    In the Sly Cooper series, one of the characters is a turtle named Bentley.

In pop music

  • The Mock Turtles, an indie-baggie band from the late 89's/early 90's Madchester scene, had a hit with 'Can You Dig It?'
    A 1968 recording by guitarist John Fahey is called "The Voice of the Turtle". This is a reference to Song of Solomon 2:12 in an old translation which actually refers to the turtle-dove, but Fahey probably misread it deliberately because turtles were very important to him.
    Syd Barret recorded a song named "Terrapin" for his album The Madcap Laughs in 1970. The song was later covered, live, by Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour.
    In 1996, Harry Connick, Jr. released an album called "Star Turtle."
    Rock singer Sting's solo debut album was entitled The Dream of the Blue Turtles.
    The Turtles, Tortoise, and Beatnik Turtle are musical groups.
    The Grateful Dead recorded a song entitled "Terrapin Station", which appears on the album of the same name and was a steady inclusion in their live repertoire.
    The Alternative Rock band They Might Be Giants recorded the Marty Stouffer style "Turtle Songs of North America" for their first podcast. If you subscribe to their Free Tunes service it can be downloaded here.

In television

  • Franklin, is the star of a Canadian children's television series
    The fencing Touché Turtle in the animated series Touché Turtle and Dum Dum
    Flying turtles show up often in the anime Love Hina including mentions of a ancient turtle civilization.
    Tooter Turtle -- Drizzle, drazzle, druzzle, drome, time for this one to come home.

Other

  • The ornate box turtle is the state reptile of Kansas. It is ironic that turtles have been banned as classroom pets in Kansas and many other states in the United States.
    A possibly apocryphal story goes: Bertrand Russell, giving a lecture on astronomy, described how the earth orbits the sun which orbits and the movement of the sun about the galaxy. When he had finished, an old lady stood up and protested: "What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant turtle." Russell smiled and asked gently, "What is the turtle standing on?" "You're very clever, young man, very clever," said the woman. "But it's turtles all the way down."
    The mascot of the University of Maryland, College Park is the diamondback terrapin, which is also the state reptile of Maryland.
    The mascot of the Ptolemaic Terrascope magazine is a turtle named Ptolemy.
    the mascot of the KAME project is that of a sea turtle.

Tortoise species in fiction

British author Patrick O'Brian created a fictional tortoise, Testudo aubreii, for his book HMS Surprise. In the book, naturalist and intelligence officer Stephen Maturin discovers the tortoise and names it in honor of his friend, Captain Jack Aubrey.

Religion, fables and mythology

  • One avatar of Vishnu is said to be the giant turtle Kurma.
    In Hinduism, Akupara is a tortoise who carries the world on his back. It upholds the earth and the sea.
    The myth of Theseus features a giant man-eating turtle, to which a villain would feed humans by pushing the victims off a cliff and into the turtle's ocean.
    In Chinese mythology, the tortoise represents longevity due to its prolonged life-span. It is one of the four most prominent beasts of China and is of the water element. In Feng Shui the rear of the home is represented by the symbolic animal the Black Tortoise, signifying support for home, family life and personal relationships. If you don’t have a building or structure representing the Black Tortoise behind your home you can place a symbolic tortoise there for enhanced support to this aspect of life. A tortoise at the back door or in the backyard by a pond is said to attract good fortune and many blessings. Three tortoises stacked on top of each other represents a mother and her babies.
    In Aesop's fable The Tortoise and the Hare, a tortoise defeats an overconfident hare in a race.

Notes

  1.   Snapping turtles in fiction can be rather villainous; an example would be Tokka in the film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze.

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