10 Things You Might Not Have Known About Turtles #6
The shell is actually part of the animal’s spine and ribs.
The upper part of the shell is called the carapace and the lower part is called the plastron. The outer layer is covered with scales called scutes. Scutes are part of the turtle’s skin and are made of keratin, the same stuff that makes up your skin, hair and fingernails. Turtles molt their skin, but not as spectacularly as snakes do.