What is a turtle's shell made out of?

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A turtle shell is actually two parts: the lower shell, called the "plastron," and the upper shell, called the "carapace." Both of these parts are made by fusing many (sometimes as many as 50!) of the turtle's bones together vertebrae make up the carapace, while the collar bone and ribs are part of the plastron. The shell is also covered with a substance called "keratin," which is the same stuff your fingernails are made out of; keratin forms patches on the shell called "scutes," that overlap and add another layer of protection to the shell. 

Since the shell has both nerves and veins, it's possible for the turtle to feel pain or get sick if its shell is injured in any way (ouch!). And while turtles' shells vary in shape or texture, because it's bones are connected to the shell, it's impossible for the turtle to ever leave it! 

by   (whyzz writer)
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    Did you know?
    There are over 300 species of turtles in the world, and they are found on every continent except Antarctica!

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