by Ari and Peter

1.1.1 – The written form of expressing the amount of male, female, and unsexed specimens in a group.  The first number is males, the second is females, and the third is those of an unknown sex.  The third number may not be present if there are no unsexed individuals (1.1). If the either or both sexes are not known, 0 will be placed (1.0.1 or 0.1.1 or 0.0.1)

Abscess – A lump on the side of a Chelonians face, caused by poor water quality in aquatics and temperature/humidity in terrestrials.

Adult – Fully grown; fully mature.

Albino – Lacking normal pigmentation.

Ammonia – Pungent gas or liquid compounded of nitrogen and hydrogen.  Usually produced [in an aquarium] by high amounts of waste.

Anterior – Toward or pertaining to the front.

Aquarium – A mainly aquatic enclosure.

Bask – A way Reptilians absorb heat and UV rays from the sun.  Aquatic turtles will leave the water and bask on a log, shore, etc.

Beak – Upper portion of the mandible (mouth). Shapes and sizes vary from species to species. Some may be pointed, rounded, flat, pointed, etc.

Biological Filtration – The use of biomedia and beneficial bacteria to filter water.

Bottom-Walker – Slang. The category of aquatic chelonians found primarily “walking” along the floor of a water-body.  This includes, but is certainly not limited to: mud, musk and snapping turtles.

Bridge – The part of the shell that connects the top (Carapace) and the bottom (Plastron).

Brumation – The reptilian equivalent to hibernation.

Carapace – The top part of the shell of a chelonian.

Carnivore – Eats animal matter.

Chelonian – A turtle or tortoise.

Chemical Filtration – The use of carbon and other chemical substances to neutralize waste, ammonia, and other dangerous chemicals.

Cloaca – Opening under the tail through which the turtle performs fecal, urinary, and reproductive functions.  Also see Vent.

Clutch – A complete group of eggs laid at one time, there often being multiple clutches of eggs per season from one female.

Crepuscular – Pertaining to twilight; describing an animal active at dusk or dawn.

Cusp – A notch in the front most portion of the beak.  Often found in Cooters (genus Psuedemys).

DBT - Acronym for "Diamondback Terrapin"

Diurnal – Active during the day; opposite of nocturnal.

Ectotherm – an organism that relies on external heat sources to regulate it’s body temperature.

Eggbound – To be gravid and unable to lay.

Egg-tooth – A small tooth-like projection on the “nose” of hatchling turtles, used for breaking out of the egg.

Endemic – Confined to a specific region.

Estivation – A period of inactivity, typically induced by extreme heat or drought.

Fanning – Displaying of the penis. This will appear black in color, shiny, and towards the base, it might appear red, pink or dark purple.

Genus -- The category of taxonomic classification, below "Family", that is split into subordinate species that have common characteristics.

Gestation – The period between conception and birth during which an organism (or organisms) develop in the uterus, or …..? in the case of Chelonians.

Ghost – A genetic “morph” giving a very light, pale appearance.  Also known as anerythristic.  Lacking all pigment except black, white, and sometimes yellow.

GI – Gastro-intestinal.

Gravid – Carrying eggs.

Gular – Pertaining to the throat.

Hatchling – A turtle within 3 months of age is generally considered a hatchling.

Herbivore – A plant eater.

Herpetoculture – The breeding of reptiles and amphibians.

Herpetoculturist – A person who breeds reptiles and amphibians.

Herpetology – The scientific study of reptiles and amphibians.

Herpetologist – One who studies herpetology.

Hibernation – A period of inactivity induced by cold.  In the wild, many animals pass the winter via hibernation.

Hinge – Flexible joint on the plastron of certain turtles allowing the shell to close for maximum protection.

Hybrid  -- The offspring of genetically different parents. The offspring produced by breeding chelonians of different species.

Incubate – To maintain eggs at optimal environmental conditions for growth and development.

Insectivore – An insect eater.

Invasive – When one species crosses into a region where they are not indigenous.

Juvenile -- A term that is used when referring to a chelonian that has not yet reached the age or size of sexual maturity.

Keel -- A ridge on the carpace, usually extending from the rear to the the front.

Keratin – The tough, fibrous scleroprotein that makes up turtles’ shells.

Leucistic – Genetic morphs giving a completely white appearance with blue eyes.

Listing – Tilting to one side or the other while swimming. Typical of respiratory problems.

MBD – Metabolic Bone Disease.

Mechanical  Filtration – The use of sponge, mesh, etc., to remove particles from the water.

Melanism – To have a large amount of dark pigmentation caused by a high concentration of melanin.  Melanism is not uncommon in older adult male Red Eared Sliders.

Necrotic – Dead tissue or cells contributed by disease or injury.

Nitrate – NO2, nitrogenous waste practically harmless to turtles but toxic to fish.

Nitrite – NO3, nitrogenous waste practically harmless to turtles.  Less toxic to fish than nitrates.

Nocturnal – Active during the night.  Opposite of diurnal.

Nuchal – Pertaining to the back of the neck, as in the anterior median scute (nuchal scute) on a turtle’s carapace.

Omnivore – Eats both plant and animal matter.

Oviparous – Producing young from eggs hatching outside the body.

Ontogenetic – Pertaining to the origin or development of an organism from embryo to adult.

Palpate – To check for eggs by feeling inside the rear leg cavity.

Pastel - A genetic “morph” giving a very diverse display of colors typical to a species but in an atypical pattern and combination.

Photoperiod – The period of light from dark.

Pipping – To break through the egg during hatching.

Plastron – The bottom part of the shell.

Posterior – Toward or pertaining to the back.

Prolapse – The expelling of either the penis or the intestines and the inability to withdraw them back into the body..

Protozoa -- Any of a large group of single-celled organisms, usually microscopic, eukaryotic, such as amoebas, ciliates, flagellates, and sporozoans.

RES – Acronym for Red Eared Slider.

SCL – Acronym for Straight Carapace Length.  A commonly used form of measuring turtles in which the carapace (upper shell) is measured from front to back in a straight, invisible line going through the body from the front to the back.

SCUD – Severe Ulcerative Shell Disease. (Also known as Shell Rot.)

Scute – Each bony plate that makes up a turtle’s shell.

Semi-aquatic – A species that can be found both on land and in water.

Semi-terrestrial – A species that can be found both on land and in water.

Septicemia – A disease caused by the release of pathogenic organisms into the bloodstream from an infection. Also called "Blood poisoning".

Species – The category of taxonomic classification, ranking below a genus consisting of related organisms capable of interbreeding.

Sub-adult – A chelonian that has exceeded juvenile age, but has not yet reached adult age. Usually about 3 years old, depending upon species.

Subspecies – The taxonomic category of specimens consisting of interbreeding, often geographically isolated.

Substrate – The material (sand, gravel, dirt, etc.) at the floor of an enclosure, both terrestrial and aquatic.

Suture -- The line of junction or an immovable joint between two bones.

Temperate – [Pertaining to] A temperature or climate that is moderate; Neither hot, nor cold.

Terrapin – A term pertaining to any aquatic or semi-aquatic turtle. This term is widely used through the world, but in the United States, they are called "Turtles" (with the exception of Diamondback Terrapins which are the only aquatic turtles to be referred to as terrapins within the US).

Terrarium – A mainly terrestrial enclosure.

Thermoregulate – To maintain correct body temperature by moving to warmer and colder places in the environment, specifically in the case of reptilians and other cold-blooded animals. 

Tortoise – Land-dwelling chelonians.

Turtle – The general term for any of the various aquatic or terrestrial reptiles of the order Testudines (or Chelonia); having horny, toothless jaws and a bony or leathery shell into which the head, limbs and tail can be withdrawn in most species. Terrapins and Tortoises both fall under the title of 'Turtles'.

Uric acid -- A nitrogenous end product of protein and purine metabolism; the chief nitrogenous component of the urine in terrestrial reptiles, birds, and insects.

URI – Upper respiratory infection.

UVA – Ultra-Violet A. This is the visible wavelength. It is responsible for inducing normal behavior in reptiles such as feeding, climbing, mating etc.

UVB – Ultra-Violet B. One of the two non-visible wavelengths of light. This is what gives humans suntans. In reptiles, UVB allows for the synthesis of vitamin D3 which allows reptiles to process calcium in their system, thus preventing or reversing metabolic bone disease.

UVC – Ultra-Violet C. This is the wavelength used in ultraviolet sterilizers which kill harmful bacteria. This wavelength is extremely dangerous and can actually damage DNA. Commonly used in filters to assist in eliminating bacteria, fungus, parasites and algae.

Vent – Opening under the tail through which the turtle performs fecal, urinary and reproductive functions.  Also see Cloaca.

Vivarium -- A place, especially an indoor enclosure, for keeping and raising living animals and plants under natural conditions for observation or research.

Yearling -- An animal that is one year old or has not completed its second year.