Post by Lesley Weston Post by Flesh-eating Dragon
Anywhere but Australia, that would be a terrapin.
The term "terrapin" is used in North America for some of their
turtles/tortoises. We refer to the members of this family as
turtles because of their webbed feet and aquatic behaviour. The
term "tortoise" is used for the dome-shelled, predominantly land
based tortoises, such as those found on the Galapagos Islands.
There is some false information out there, however, e.g.
Sometimes you may see the word terrapin used in Australia, but
generally the word tortoise is applied to all freshwater species
with clawed, webbed feet and the word turtle is used for the large
marine species with feet shaped like paddles.
That's not the only page where this incorrect information can be
found, e.g. <http://www.tortoisetrust.org/care/faq.html#difference>
(I think I might just send a quick erratum email).
I think the page I linked to before resolves this contradiction by
pointing out that the latter is an old-fashioned definition while the
former is the current convention. As it
In the past, all freshwater turtles were called tortoises and
marine turtles were called turtles. The more recent convention has
been to restrict the term 'tortoise' to the purely land-dwelling
species. As such, Australia has no tortoises.
I've never heard of a terrapin, except as a joke-word in ISIRTA.