Do Turtles Have Hair? – A Surprising Fact

Do Turtles have hair? Turtles having hair or not is not a problem for many pet owners. Some scientists say they have hair, and others say they do not. Turtles of some species have been seen with hair. They have keratin protein on their skin that is responsible for scales and gives a hair-like structure.

Few pet owners like turtles to be their pets and want to see the size and hair position on the turtle’s body. Hair makes the turtle’s skin messy, which some people do not like. If you want to pet a turtle with no hair, you must know which species of turtles have hair. I will cover all these points in this post.  

Where do turtles have hairs?

Hair is a feature that makes turtles different from other reptiles and amphibians. Turtles have hair on their wholae skin, from their heads to their feet. But the size and amount vary from species to species. Therefore, i can not mention the exact hair size in the figure. Some turtle species are hairless as well.

Which Turtles are hairless?

Among different species of turtles, three are famous for their hairless skin, including sea turtles, soft shell turtles, and leatherback turtles. These are further classified as gentle shell turtles, including snapping, mud, and box turtles. On the other hand, leatherback turtles are found globally in tropical water. 

Do sea turtles have hair?

Sea turtles are commonly found in oceans worldwide in Asia, Europe, Australia, and America. They have attractive and shiny shells, so most people use them as pets. Viewers often ask about the hair of sea turtles. Hairless turtles are classified as those species. 

Hairy turtles

Like hairless turtles, there are numerous species of hairy turtles worldwide. Three notable species are freshwater turtles, arboreal turtles, and American bullfrogs. Freshwater turtles include musk turtles, painted turtles, and yellow-bellied sliders. At the same time, arboreal turtles are categorized as red-eared and wood turtles. 

How long does a turtle grow hair?

The growth and duration of turtle hair also vary from species to species. Some species grow hair throughout their life and overgrow. At the same time, some species take a few months to grow hair because hair grows slowly. Some species also grow hair until maturity, such as green turtles that become bald as they age. Another turtle species named loggerhead species start hair growth after adulthood.

Kinds of turtle hair

There are three general classifications of turtle hairs such as platelet, filamentous, and granular. Platelet hairs are round and cover the whole head of the turtle, while filamentous hairs are long and thin. Granular hair is like small sand grains, which rough the turtle’s skin, but naked eyes do not see these. You need a microscope, but scientists and pet owners differentiate such turtles due to their rough, scaly skin texture. 

Do baby turtles have hair?

No, baby turtles do not have hair because they do not have enough energy to keep themselves warm. As they grow one year old, they regulate their body temperature and produce hair. For heat regulation, they have a a thick fat layer beneath the skin to provide insulation. Baby turtles have downy feathers for their protection when hatches. 

In a year, turtles gain heat from food and start to lose downy features. After some time, their old fat shed, and they develop a harder shell. Their hair grows when they become 2 to 5 years old. Hair growth varies from species to species depending on what they eat like mealworms, snails, corn, etc. 

Why do some turtles have hair and some have not?

Species of hairy turtles and hairless turtles have been discussed above in detail, but why do some have no ability to produce hair? There could be two reasons first is that their ancestors lost their hair over time. Another solid reason is that hairless turtles are adapted to cold environments, and they are not capable of insulating their bodies. 

do turtles have hair

Thickness and color of turtles hair

Turtle’s hair is one inch thick, not enough to cover their shell completely. Turtle hair rises from follicles and keratin protein from the neck, producing thickness in turtle hair. Despite the hair, you can see the turtle’s head because of the brownish grey, white, and cream-colored hair. Do not forget to wash your hands whenever you touch turtle hair, as they secrete sticky solutions that stick to your hand. Even if you forget to wash your hands, you may get ill. 

Do turtles have fur?

Again furs vary from species to species. However, it does not mean that turtles without fur cannot protect themself from cold because all turtles are cold-blooded animals that depend on external sources to maintain internal body temperature, such as food. They know how to use energy to keep their body warm. 

Turtles skin

Turtles’ skin is the same as other replies and amphibians but mostly resemble lizards. Their skin consists of overlapping scales and thin collagen fibers, helping them absorb minerals and nutrients through the skin. Humidity levels should be up to 40% of an active turtle’s body weight to maintain healthy tissues. 

Ecdysis occurs once a year when turtles shed their skin. The new skin develops under old when new skin develops completely, old skin sheds. Another note is that turtles can quickly adapt to their environment. They lose up to 10-15 percent of their body weight overnight when the environment changes. 

Final Words

In this post, I have tried to explain your question about “do turtles have hair.” people who want to get a turtle pet must need to know about all the traits of a turtle. Some turtles, like the Amazon turtle, red-eared slider, cooter, etc., have hair. Some hairless species are painted turtles, stinkpot turtles, and eastern mud turtles. People might prefer one of them, but both have pros and cons.

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Hey, I've done my Ph.D. in Marine Biology. I'm a turtle enthusiast and have been owning turtles for the last 22 years and dedicated to sharing my experience to help you in pet turtle upbringing.