Turtles are essentially robots with the ability to place, break and detect blocks, move around and drop items in their inventory. The programs they run are stored on their internal memory or on floppy disks.
Turtles are capable of using pickaxes, hoes, axes, shovels and swords. "Crafty Turtles" have the ability to craft using their inventory. "Wireless Turtles" are capable of communicating with other Wireless Turtles (and Computers with Modems) over distance.
Turtles are submersible and lavaproof. As such, they are extremely useful for mining near bedrock, where heavy lava flows can prevent access to diamonds and other rare finds.
If you would like to know more about how to program them, have a look at the Turtle API.
Turtles do not have a built-in Disk Drive. As such, they need a Disk Drive placed beside them to access Floppy Disks. However, if the Turtle is of the Wireless family, the Disk Drive (and other peripherals) must be placed on a side other than the side the wireless modem is on.
Turtles require fuel to operate - this means Turtles must be powered from any item that works in a regular furnace, like coal and lava. The turtle gains 0.6 "movement" per half second the fuel would have burnt in a furnace. The Turtle can move 1 block for each fuel count it has, for example, coal yields 96 block movements. For more information, go to the Turtle.refuel page.
Since they also accept MJ and EU power as fuel, they also accept power source items in IndustrialCraft2 and Buildcraft 3 mods to refuel such as batteries or Energy Crystals. They can also be charged by docking them in front of a Charge Station from the Misc Peripherals mod.
Optional Non-fuel mode Edit
In this mode, Turtles use their internal Redstone Engine, and as such, they do not need to be re-charged, or receive any other form of external power. This is because Redstone continuously emits low levels of energy, and the Turtle's engine is very efficient. This mode can be turned on by editing the turtle config file (config/mod_CCTurtle.cfg) and setting turtleNeedsFuel to 0.
Turtles equipped with a diamond hoe can till dirt so it can later be used for Farming. An example of a use for this would be using it to till, plant, and harvest your wheat farm and dropping any product in a chest for you.
Turtles crafted with a diamond pickaxe, diamond axe, or diamond shovel, can break blocks, chop wood, mine stone and ores, and even break dirt and gravel (depending on the tool you used on it). The tools equipped on the Turtle have durability, and so can not be used indefinitely without the need for any additional materials. When a Turtle breaks the block, the Turtle receives the item directly into its inventory. Different tools yield different drops - for example, an axe can break anything, but it won't drop ores.
Turtles with a Crafting Table can craft items if they have the correct materials to do so.
Turtles equipped with a diamond sword can attack players and mobs. When a Turtle kills a mob it will leave the experience orbs on the ground, but add the loot to its inventory. Turtles can also attack with any tool, where the diamond axe is the second best after the diamond sword.
Turtles can be equipped with different peripherals and tools. A turtle can only have one tool and one peripheral, however the crafting table can act as a tool, or peripheral.
The following tools can be equipped to a turtles: diamond pickaxe, diamond axe, diamond shovel, diamond hoe diamond sword, and a Crescent hammer.
If you give the turtle a Crescent hammer it becomes a engineering turtle that can work a quartz grind stone which is useful early on when resources are scarse.
The following peripherals can be equipped to a turtles: wireless modem and crafting tables.
Diamond tools must be unused (i.e. not have a durability bar showing) to combine with a turtle.