TEXAS TURTLES AND CULTURE

Turtles have played an important role in the lives of many Texans and these roles have impacted turtles for the better and some for the worse. The primary function served by turtles to humans has been as a food source.  Turtles are among the earliest known food items for prehistoric people. Currently the consumption of turtles as food is carried out by a rather small subset of people. The early 21st century is not an era known for a shortage of other available food options and our consideration for turtles has shifted from culinary to conservation.  The primary reasons for this shift is due to their conservation status and the fact that turtles accumulate more toxins such as heavy metals and methyl Mercury in their flesh than fish.