T Is For Turtle

Turtle Doodlewash

With a ton of options for “T” and a brief consideration of a Toucan, we ultimately ended up with this red-footed turtle. I first found a reference for a colorful box turtle, but much of the signature color was due to his spooky red eyes which started to creep me out. This one is actually a tortoise, which is a more specific way to describe a terrestrial turtle who doesn’t really know how to swim. Unless you’re in Great Britain, then this is not a turtle at all and should only be referred to as a tortoise. Far too stringent a rule for North Americans, but we’ll use tortoise henceforth to avoid confusion.

It’s rare to see a group of tortoises as they’re rather solitary creatures, with mothers fiercely protecting a nest, but then quickly abandoning their young right after they hatch. If you ever did see a group of tortoises, you would refer to them as a “creep,” but this is unlikely to ever be necessary knowledge given their nature.  In my slap dash research, I was curious if tortoises could feel touch on their shells. It turns out their shells do have nerve ending and they can feel every little rub, and some videos on YouTube seem to suggest some actually enjoy a good petting.

Most curious was the subject of gender. Apparently you can’t tell a tortoise’s gender until it reaches a certain size. This time frame varies by breed, but when it comes to sexual maturity, size actually does matter for tortoises. There was a bit about smelling with their throats, but then I was distracted by another cute cat video so that’s all the tidbits we have for today. Next up is the dreaded “U” with precious few options that anyone has ever heard of, so please feel free to submit your suggestions on where we go next in the comments!

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Pyrrol Red, Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Neutral Tint and Titanium White Gouache. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal


Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
Published in By Charlie
  1. theturtle 1 year ago

    I’m loving my terrestrial cousin 😉
    You captured her beautifully , Charlie 🙂
    Sea Turtle Hugs for you

  2. Sharon Mann 1 year ago

    Very beautiful turtle Charlie , I love the detail and the interesting bits of info. How about Uakari or Ulysses butterfly.

  3. Catherine Johnson 1 year ago

    Fabulous painting, Charlie! I never knew a group was called a creep. How interesting!

  4. memadtwo 1 year ago

    I love all your tidbits of information. His (her?) shell is really lovely too. And they like to be petted…that is cool.
    I think you must stretch a bit and do a unicorn. There have been many times and places where it was considered a real animal. And perhaps it was (is)! (K)

    • Author

      Thanks Kerfe!! This had been more of an educational journey for me than I expected. Hehe…it’s been fun!! And yeah…a unicorn IS real, right? 😉

  5. Cathe 1 year ago

    How do I say…”you rendered the hell out of this sucker…”! Please know this is a huge compliment, ole handsome turtle! Okay clearly “U” is for unicorn but if you must be literal how about a Utah prairie dog.

    • Author

      Lol…thanks Cathe! 💕😃 Yeah I got a little lost in the details on this one. And I’ll have google the Utah prairie dog! Not sure I know what it is! Hehe 😊

  6. Teri C 1 year ago

    Love the colors! We have tortoise around here. The ones I’ve seen have been pets or in the zoo but apparently you can find them in the desert (where the pets came from).

    • Author

      Thanks Teri! 😃 Yeah I used to see them on my grandmother’s farm but otherwise it was just zoos and pets. They had the gigantic ones at the zoo. Those were always so cool!

  7. Teresa Robeson 1 year ago

    That tortoise is almost sparkly, it’s so pretty! <3 Cute cat videos is the internet equivalent of "squirrel!". LOL! My brain is a little fried so I can't think of a single U animal right now. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

  8. Jodi 1 year ago

    Oh charlie – you are too much – distracted by a cute cat video! 🙂 This is a very cute turtle!!

  9. Jill Kuhn 1 year ago

    Totally terrific tortoise, Charlie! 😜👍🎨 🐢 I vote for an Umbrella bird for “U”! 😉

    • Author

      Thanks Jill!! 💕😃Glad you liked this one!! And yeah…just learned about Umbrella bird searching for U…can’t believe how many new animals I’m discovering on this adventure. Fun!!! 😃😃

  10. Jacob 1 year ago

    How wonderful! I love how you’ve done the shell – those red markings are unnerving me a little, though! That said, I would hope I’d be able to run away from a deadly tortoise (though I wouldn’t bank on it, my fitness levels as they are.) Such love for the tortoise, though; one of many creatures I asked for as a child, but was fobbed off until the urge passed.

    I’m most intrigued to see what you pluck out for U! Really the only thing I can think of is Ungulate, and that’s not exactly narrowing things down.

    • Author

      Thanks Jacob!! Yeah…I wanted one with a bit of color, but the spots are a bit freaky. The one with red eyes is perfectly terrifying!! 😳 Though I would hope you’d managed to outrun the deadly tortoise…that would be the most embarrassing death of all time. 😊lol And I had never heard of the world Ungulate…had to google it! Hehe… Yeah…that’s a plethora of options!!

  11. Carmel Campbell 1 year ago

    My son also had a turtle but not nearly as colorful as yours!

  12. Sissh 1 year ago

    This is a great doodlewash, Charlie! I love turtles/tortoises. Thanks for the bit about their shells that made me happy to learn for some reason (maybe its cause I’d like to have a little one for a pet someday).
    For your next letter, I can only think of the ulysses butterfly for ‘U’.

    • Author

      Awww thanks Sissh!! 😃💕Yeah isn’t it fun to know they might actually enjoy a nice little bit of petting?! Hehe I liked learning that too!

  13. Jui 1 year ago

    such a colorful tortoise! wonderful work really! can not wait to see what you will paint for “U”. 🙂 I am enjoying this series of paintings very much.

    • Author

      Thank you so much!! I’m so happy to hear you’re enjoying these!! This month’s adventure has been really fun to do!

  14. So a group is a ‘creep’ … if I was a tortoise I’m not sure if I would like that, but it actually seems totally appropriate! You could cheat a bit on the U and do an Orang Utan, or maybe an ungulate which is apparently any hoofed mammal … but maybe the unicorn would be most fun!

    • Author

      Lol…yeah I was wondering the same Anna. Not sure being called a creep is ever a good thing! And “U” is a rough one. Although the ungulate route does appear to be a good cheat! lol

  15. debiriley 1 year ago

    beautiful turtle with lively colors and tons of detail!

    • Author

      Thanks Debi!! 💕😃 Yeah he ended up a little too detailed almost, but I got lost exploring all the little pieces and parts! 😊hehe

      • debiriley 1 year ago

        a little zen whilst drawing is fantastic!

  16. How do you manage to make a turtle cute?! But yet, you do! Love the colors and the wonderful sparkle in its eye. So much detail! I have to go with Cathe. We MUST see a unicorn for U. What a wonderful idea! 💚

    • Author

      Awww glad you think he’s cute! 💚😃Wasn’t sure if I managed it on this one or not!! Hehe… and yeah there are only two options of creatures for U that everyone would have heard of, with unicorn being one. Lol Such a tough letter!! But could be fun! 😉

  17. Kari 1 year ago

    What a beautiful tortoise! Love the white splatters on the shell! And who comes up with these words…creep of turtles… Lol! I may actually have a little time to doodlewash this week.. Crossing my fingers! 😜

    • Author

      Thanks Kari!! 💕😃 And I’m going to jump to that last bit…YES please!!! Do it! Do it!! Missing your doodlewashes!!

      • Kari 1 year ago

        Thank you, Charlie! I miss it too! ❤️

  18. Susan Feniak 1 year ago

    Nice Tortuga Charlie! I can see it is creeping along to join the creep!! 🙂 hehe

  19. pastryexperiments 1 year ago

    This turtle is so cute! Good job, I love his spots. You could try a Uakari monkey for “U”. They are rather interesting to look at, and they have red faces. 🙂

    • Author

      Thanks so much!! Glad you liked him!! I did consider that …but some of the pics were downright scary of those monkeys! I’d never heard of one. U was such a frustrating letter I decided to just go with a myth! Lol

  20. Akire Bubar 1 year ago

    Beautiful! How funny that we’ve both been focused on tortoises! This one is fantastic.

    • Author

      Thanks so much!! And yours was more awesome, Akire…it could fly!! (Well in its dreams at least! Hehe!! Love it!! ❤️😃

      • Akire Bubar 1 year ago

        Nah, not more awesome – just different. 🙂 Thanks! <3

  21. ArtsyDot 1 year ago

    This is awesome!

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