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World’s Biggest Tortoise – World’s Largest Tortoise – the Galapagos Tortoise

Updated on January 14, 2012

World’s Biggest Tortoise - Galapagos Tortoise

The world’s biggest tortoise is the Galapagos tortoise. Galapagos tortoises inhibit the Galapagos Islands on the west of Ecuadorian mainland. Galapagos tortoises can weigh up to 400 kilograms (which is about the weight of two male African lions). The Galapagos tortoise can grow to a length of 6 feet and can live for up to 200 years. If a human generation is taken to be the average age women starts having children, which is 23 years, then, a Galapagos tortoise can therefore be said to live for nine human generations. Galapagos tortoises can only move for a distance of about one kilometer in 4 hours.

World’s Biggest Tortoise – the Galapagos Tortoise, Image Credit: Mfield, Matthew Field via Wikimedia Commons.
World’s Biggest Tortoise – the Galapagos Tortoise, Image Credit: Mfield, Matthew Field via Wikimedia Commons. | Source

Aldabra Giant Tortoise

Another world’s largest tortoise is the Aldabra giant tortoise. Aldabra giant tortoises inhibit Seychelles Islands of Indian Ocean. Aldabra giant tortoise can weigh up to 360 kilograms (which is about the weight of two male African lions). Aldabra giant tortoise can grow to a length of 6 feet. The Aldabra tortoise will match the size of the Galapagos tortoise. Whilst the world's largest population of the Aldabra tortoise is to be found in Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles, there are still more of Aldabra tortoises in the islands of Zanzibar and Mauritius.

Aldabra Giant Tortoise, Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy where children rides on tortoises. Image Credit: Chuck @ via Wikimedia Commons
Aldabra Giant Tortoise, Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy where children rides on tortoises. Image Credit: Chuck @ via Wikimedia Commons | Source

World’s Biggest Turtle - Leatherback Sea Turtle

The Leatherback sea turtle is the world’s biggest turtle. Leatherback sea turtles inhibit all tropical and subtropical oceans, and extending well into the Arctic Circle. You will find Leatherback sea turtles in Alaska, Norway, South Africa, New Zealand, etc. Leatherback sea turtle can weigh up to 900 kilograms but on average the weight ranges between 400 – 700 kilograms. The Leatherback sea turtle can grow to a length of 10 feet from head to tail. Leatherback sea turtle does not have a bony carapace like in tortoise or other turtles. A carapace is that hard shell-like upper covering that protects the bodies of animals such as tortoises and turtles. Leatherback sea turtles have thick, leathery skin with embedded minuscule of bony deposits-forming scales instead of carapace. Unlike tortoises that can move a distance of one kilometer in 4 hours, Leatherback sea turtles are the fastest moving reptiles in the world. The Leatherback turtles can cruise at a speed of 35 kilometers per hour.

Difference between Tortoise and Turtle

The basic difference between a tortoise and turtle is that tortoises live on land whilst turtles live in sea, rivers or ponds. Turtles have feet with webbing or flipper-like fins for swimming whist tortoise have feet with sharp claws for digging. Scientifically, a tortoise is a kind of a turtle, but not all turtles are tortoises.

Tortoises Are Reptiles

Tortoises are reptiles and they lay about 30 eggs. The mother tortoise will usually cover her eggs with soil and organic materials. The eggs will usually take between 60 to 120 days to hatch in to young ones. From here, the tortoise will grow a hard shell to shield it from predators.

Predators of Tortoises

With the hard shell covering their bodies, the tortoises have very few predators, with the exceptions of humans – and, are humans predators, scavengers or opportunists? When a tortoise gets ticks, it extends its head, neck and legs out and birds will come and remove the ticks. The greatest predators to the tortoises are the army ants called safari ants.

Safari Ants - Predators of Tortoises. Image Credit: April Nobile via Wikimedia Commons
Safari Ants - Predators of Tortoises. Image Credit: April Nobile via Wikimedia Commons | Source

Safari Ants

A colony of safari ants has about 10 -20 million ants with pincer-like mandibles and powerful shearing jaws. When army ants make their raids, they follow column raids and swarm attacks. In a swarm raid, army ants will spread and move along in branches of up to 20 metres wide, and as they move along they sweep all pests and animals along their way. To the safari ants, it doesn’t matter how big the animal is: if the animal can’t move fast enough, then, it becomes a meal for the safari ants. Tortoise with a speed of 250 metres per hour will most certainly become a meal for the safari ants. So, if you keep your pet tortoise in your garden, be aware that your garden can be invaded by army ants and your pet tortoise will be killed.

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    • Richard1988 profile image


      4 years ago from Hampshire - England

      Great hub - very interesting facts about the Galapagis tortoise :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I have 72kg, 81cm long leopard tortoise at equator reptiles kenya baringo county

    • PADDYBOY60 profile image


      6 years ago from Centreville Michigan

      I love turtles and tortoises. Nice hub.

    • everythingdazzles profile image


      7 years ago from Houston

      WOW that is one big turtle. I think I would be running if that thing came near me.


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