Shellebrate World Turtle Day!

World Turtle Day is the 23rd May each year and was created by the American Tortoise Rescue (ATR) in 2000 to raise awareness of the illegal pet trade and to encourage conservation of the world’s oldest reptiles. ATR predict that sadly turtles and tortoises could be close to extinction within the next 50 years due to illegal smuggling for the pet trade and exotic food industry, climate change and habitat destruction. 

So to help you shellebrate World Turtle Day with your class and raise awareness of turtles and tortoise’s plights, we’ve collated some great resources and fun facts to help your lesson planning:

  • Turtles and tortoises have been around for 200 million years. 
  • The temperature inside the nest of a turtle or tortoise affects the gender of the hatchlings; warmer temperatures produce male offspring but cooler temperatures produce females.
  • Charles Darwin and Steve Irwin cared for the same tortoise! Her name was Harriet and she was a Galapagos giant tortoise.
  • It’s estimated that around 1 in 1,000 turtle hatchlings make it to adulthood.
  • There are 7 species of turtle and 6 of these are at risk of extinction.
  • Female turtles return to the beach where they hatched to lay their eggs.
  • Leatherback turtles are the largest turtles on earth.
  • Lonesome George was the last of the species of the Pinta Island Tortoise and was estimated to be over 100 years old at the time of his death. His species was wiped out due to human poaching for meat on The Galapagos Islands.


  1. You can find a range of fabulous teaching resources and lesson plans (which are linked to the cirriculum) on rock types, Charles Darwin, climate change and of course turtles on the Discovery Galapagos website. You will need to register for free to access the resources.
  2. You can find a cool printable turtle colouring page here.
  3. For Preschools and Nurseries, check out First School for printable materials and turtle craft ideas.
  4. Your can find a printable tortoise or turtle worksheet for your class to complete here


If you are interested in teaching your class about conservation and environmental issues you may be interested in the green resources we collated for Mother Earth Day

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