SSAT Middle Level Reading Comprehension Practice Test 4

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Like snakes, lizards, and crocodiles, turtles are reptiles. The earliest fossils recognized as turtles are about 200 million years old and date from the time when dinosaurs roamed Earth. Unbelievably, turtles have changed little in appearance since that time.

There are many different types of turtles in many different climates around the world. In contrast to other reptiles, whose populations are confined largely to the tropics, turtles are most abundant in southeastern North America and southeastern Asia. They live in lakes, ponds, salt marshes, rivers, forests, and even deserts. The sizes of turtles vary. Bog or mud turtles grow no larger than about 4 inches (10 centimeters) long. At the other end of the spectrum is the sea-roving leatherback turtle, which may be more than 6.5 feet (2 meters) in length and weigh more than 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms).

Turtles live longer than most other animals, but reports of turtles living more than a century are questionable. Several kinds, however, have lived more than 50 years in captivity. Even in natural environments, box turtles and slider turtles can reach ages of 20 to 30 years. The ages of some turtles can be estimated by counting the growth rings that form each year on the external bony plates of the shell.

1. The author mentions dinosaurs in the first paragraph to

  • A. illustrate the age of the turtle fossils
  • B. uncover the mystery of turtle origins
  • C. show that turtles may become extinct
  • D. give an example of the type of predator that turtles once faced
  • E. bring the life of the turtle into focus

2. Turtles are different from other reptiles because they

  • A. date back to dinosaur times
  • B. have not adapted to their environment
  • C. live in different climates
  • D. are desert dwellers
  • E. are good pets

3. When the author discusses the theory that turtles may live to be more than 100, the tone can best be described as

  • A. respectful
  • B. ridiculing
  • C. horrified
  • D. interested
  • E. skeptical

4. One of the ways to verify the age of a turtle is to

  • A. measure the turtle
  • B. count the rings on its shell
  • C. examine the physical deterioration of its shell
  • D. weigh the turtle
  • E. subtract its weight from its length

5. The author would most probably agree that

  • A. turtles are more interesting than other reptiles
  • B. there is a lot to be learned about turtles
  • C. turtles live longer than any other animal
  • D. turtles can be very dangerous
  • E. there are no bad turtles