Totem of the day is Turtle! You may have been pushing too hard lately. Let yourself slow down and pace your future actions. Build your independence rather than relying on others. Take time to nurture yourself and spend some time in solitude. This is a fertile time for creation so let yourself pay attention to your emotions and work on expressing positive energy. The Turtle totem is known for its connection to longevity, motherhood, and awakening to opportunities. There exists a wide range of mythology surrounding the Turtle. In the Far East, the shell was a symbol of heaven while the square underside represent earth. This totem showed us that we can connect heaven and earth within our own life. In Nigeria, the turtle was a symbol of the female sex organs and sexuality. To Native Americans, it was associated with the lunar cycle, menstruation, and the power of female energies. The turtle is seen as a symbol of the primal mother. Due to its slow metabolism and long life span, it was seen as a sign for longevity. Identifying the specific type of turtle that is your totem will help to learn exactly what signs the turtle holds for you. A painted turtle shows as a sign on how to use power and color while the sea turtle's fully aquatic lifestyle is a strong connection with water. The Turtle shows us to waken our senses and use the opportunities before us. People who connect with Turtle are old souls with connections to ancient worlds. These individuals are compassionate, nurturing types with a depth of understanding for the earth. No matter where they are, these souls feel healthier in their home and will always return. They are able to help heal other without taking on their pain and are known for retreating into themselves when they feel unsafe or threatened.
Turtles are one of the oldest and most primitive groups of reptiles and can be found in almost every type of climate found all over the world. They evolved millions of years ago. They belong to the order Testudines which splits into two suborders: Cryptodira and Pleurodira. The Turtle taxonomic order splits then into 13 families, 75 genera, and over 300 varies species. While many confused turtles and tortoise, there are distinct differences. While tortoises are land-bound, turtles live near water sources and are known to split their time between the water and land. Some species such as sea turtles, are entirely aquatic and only come onto land to lay their eggs. Turtles are adapted for aquatic life with webbed feet or flippers and a streamlined body. Freshwater turtles will live in ponds and lakes where they will back in the warm sun on logs or rocks. There is no average size for turtles due to their vast variety and number of species. The largest sea turtle, the Leatherback turtle, can weigh up to 1,500 lbs and reach over 5 feet long. The largest freshwater turtle is the North American snapping turtle which can grow over 2 feet long and weigh up to 200 lbs. The smallest turtle is the Speckled Cape turtle which only weighs up to 5 ounces with a length of 3 inches long. The iconic turtle's shell is actually a modified ribcage and a part of their vertebral column. The top part of the shell is called the carapace while the bottom is called the plastron. These shells consist of around 60 bones covered by protective plates made of keratin called scutes. The two types of turtle: Pleurodires and cryptodires are split by whether they can pull how they pull their heads back into these shells. The Pleurodires pull their heads in sideways while the cryptodires pull their heads straight back in. Others such as the seat turtles have lost the ability to retract their heads at all. These animals are not particularly social, but will not mind when other turtles are around. They do not interact or socialize, however, they do have a range of loud vocalizations. Some turtles will bark or belch while others sound like electric motors. These diverse and adaptable animals can be found on every continent, except Antarctica. Most species exist in southeastern North America and South Asia while only 5 species live in Europe. Turtles are omnivorous reptiles who will eat a variety of foods dependent on their species. The Alligator snapping turtle will use a technique where it lures fish close with its wormlike tongue which wiggles until a fish is close enough to the open jaws that will snap closed on it. They will also eat aquatic plants, worms, frogs, snakes, crayfish, and even other turtles. Species such as the cooter turtle are primarily vegetarians while those like the green sea turtle will eat only grasses and algae. Each species of turtle will grow at a different rate, maturing to mate at different times. Some will mature in only a few years while others won't reach sexual maturity until around 50 years old. However, all turtles lay eggs. They will dig a nest on land into sand or dirt to lay eggs before leaving them. No species of turtle nurtures their young. Sea turtles will lay up to 110 eggs in a single nest while others such as the flatback turtle lay only 50. The temperature of the sand will change what gender the turtle young will be. Preferably, temperatures will ensure an equal amount of male and female offspring.