Digestive System

The digestive system is similar to that of other vertebrates. Unlike amphibians, turtles lack mucous glands. Turtles do, however, possess salivary glands (Dawson 1998). The stomach of the turtle has two regions: the cranial fundic region and the caudal pyloric region. There are three regions of the small intestine passing anteriorly to posteriorly: the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. The regions of the small intestine, however, are indistinguishable by external appearance and are identified by their relative position in the digestive tract. Notice the small caecum at the junction of the small and large intestines (colon); it is little more than a swelling of the intestine. The colon empties into the common urogenital sinus, or cloaca, which proceeds to the anus, the opening to the outside of the turtle (Lawson 1979).