3 euro – The Turtle
Series: Austria – Colourful Creatures
With its retractable neck and shield-like shell, the turtle is one of the most peculiar and distinctive animals on the planet. The docile and leisurely nature of the subject of the tenth glow-in-the-dark coin in our bestselling Colourful Creatures series has also made the turtle a popular pet, usually in the form of the land-dwelling tortoise or the semi-aquatic terrapin. There are, however, 356 different species of turtle alive today, although some are highly endangered. It is estimated that turtles have been in existence for some 220 million years, which makes them one of the very first reptile groups to roam the Earth. Although the turtle’s reflex to withdraw its head when threatened implies that the reptile’s retractable neck has evolved for the purpose of protection, many experts believe that its primary function is for feeding, as this movement enables aquatic turtles to catch their prey when swimming as a result of suction. The way that the shell provides protection to the retracted head is therefore thought to be a by-product of this function. The Turtle features all 12 animals in the series in silhouette on its obverse, while a colour-printed sea turtle is shown Swimming on the coin’s glow-in-the-dark reverse. The first ever Austrian 3 euro coins, Colourful Creatures are legal tender in Austria.