A turtle’s shell is very hard. It takes thousands of pounds of pressure to crush a turtle’s shell. Due to such hard shells, turtles can defend themselves from predators. However, a bullet can break a turtle’s shell as well as animals like honey badgers, crocodiles, alligators, etc.
Now, let’s take a more in-depth look at the hardness of a turtle’s shell. But first…
What Makes The Turtle Shell So Hard?
The shell of a turtle comprises of several small bones that are interconnected.
These bones are covered by plates of keratin. They are also called scutes.
Mostly, turtle shells are covered with hard scutes.
The scutes are often called as shields as they protect the shell.
Due to the hard scutes, turtle shell is very tough and is not easily breakable.
Let’s see how much force is required to break a turtle shell.
How Much Force Does It Take To Break A Turtle Shell?
A turtle shell is really very hard and does not break easily. The size of the turtle determines the strength of its shell.
It is said that an empty box turtle shell can resist up to 200 times its weight.
It actually takes thousands of pounds of pressure to crush a turtle shell. It is that hard and tough.
But, the shell of a sea turtle is softer as compared to other turtle shells.
It can be broken if it is attacked by a predator due to its soft nature.
And if you don’t know this yet, turtles do fell pressures through their shells.
Okay. Now that you know turtle shell is very hard, let’s see if it is really so tough that it can withstand a bullet.
Can A Turtle Shell Withstand A Bullet?
It is true that the turtle shell is tough. But, this does not mean that it is bulletproof. A turtle shell cannot withstand a bullet.
A turtle shell is made up of several bones that are attached to one other.
Shell has nerves and blood do circulate in the shell.
So, if a bullet hits the shell, it will cause an injury to its shell, and blood will start flowing.
The turtle will experience tremendous pain in its shell.
Okay! Now, which turtle has the hardest shell amongst all?
Which Turtle Has The Hardest Shell?
By now, it is obvious that a shell of the turtle is very hard. But do you know which turtle has the hardest shell?
Loggerhead Sea Turtles have the hardest shell amongst all other turtles.
Loggerhead turtles are known for their massive head and strong jaws.
Loggerhead turtles are considered to be a keystone species.
It means that the other animals in its ecosystem depend upon it for their survival.
Predators depend on the Loggerhead hatchlings for their food.
While other animals, like crabs and algae, survive on their shells.
Also, if you have seen Leatherback turtles, they are bigger in size than Loggerheads.
However, they have soft shells as compared to Loggerhead turtles.
Now, is it possible for a turtle shell to break?
Can A Turtle Shell Break?
Considering the hardness of a turtle shell, it is not easily breakable.
However, it is also true that a turtle shell can crack just as human bones.
Pyramiding can cause cracks in a turtle shell. Pyramiding is uneven growth of scutes in the shell of a turtle.
Scutes are individual segments that make up the turtle shell.
Pyramiding results in a deformed shape, and the shell of a turtle can get a crack, split, or sometimes it can even break.
The other reasons due to which a turtle shell can break are:
- Improper diet,
- Inadequate exposure to sunlight,
- Lack of Vitamin D,
- Unhygienic environment, or
- An accident.
Now you know that a turtle shell can break.
But, is it possible for wild animals to break a turtle shell? Let’s talk about that as well.
Can Animals Break A Turtle Shell? If Yes, Which Animals Can Break The Turtle’s Shell?
Shells are nature’s best protective covering for a turtle.
Due to its lack of speed, a turtle relies heavily on its shell for self-defense from predators.
This does not mean that a turtle shell cannot be broken.
Given below are some animals that are capable of breaking a turtle’s shell for their meals:
- Honey Badgers: Honey Badgers can crush a turtle shell due to their strong jaws and sharp teeth. Due to their jaws’ immense power, they can break a turtle’s shell in just a few bites.
- Crocodiles and Alligators: Crocodiles and alligators are other animals that are capable of breaking a turtle shell. They are able to do so because of their powerful and sharp jaws. Crocodiles and alligators can crush the shell of a turtle with the help of their long mouth.
- Whales and Sharks: In the case of sea turtles, whales and sharks are their biggest predators. As the shell of a sea turtle is softer as compared to a land turtle, their shells are easily breakable. They often become a meal to the bigger fish, such as a whale or a shark.
A turtle’s shell is often considered as a boon for it. It is so hard that it takes a lot of force to crack or break it.
A turtle’s shell plays a very important role in the survival of a turtle.
Due to its hardness, it helps the turtle to protect itself from its predators.
However, a turtle shell can break or crack. This can happen due to an accident.
It can even crack due to other factors such as inadequate sunlight, deficiency of Vitamin D, poor habitat, improper diet, etc.
The biggest enemies of turtles are honey badgers, crocodiles, alligators, whales, and sharks, as they all are capable of breaking the shells of the turtles.