Turtles and Tortoises – How Same but different!

Turtles and Tortoises -  How Same but different!

Hmm…Turtles and Tortoise are really special creatures. They carry their homes with them. Yes! The shell we see on them is their home! It must be difficult to carry the shell all the time but the good part is that they have a shelter wherever they go.

When I was little I always thought tortoise and turtles were the same. But now I know. They are very similar but not the same. They both belong to the same family of reptiles called Testudines. The body of tortoise and turtle is shielded by a shell. The head and limbs may be withdrawn from the shell but the whole body can never be totally detached from it. These reptiles are very shy in nature. No wonder they have a shell that they can hide into if they do not want to socialize.


Now let us talk about their differences. Tortoises mostly stay on land whereas turtles swim in the water. Tortoise have a huge dome shaped heavy shells while turtles have a flat, light shell (makes it easier to swim in the water). Tortoises have bent feet and Turtles have webbed feet. Tortoises are vegetarians and the Turtles are Omnivores. Tortoises can live upto 150 years where as turtles have a smaller life span of 80 years. Wow! Aren’t those quite a few differences!


So next time when you come across a testudine, don’t forget to notice whether its a turtle or a tortoise.

Did you know?
Until very recently, The Galapagos tortoises were the largest living reptile species. Sadly, Lonesome George, the last remaining Galapagos tortoise, died at age of 100 years in the Galapagos National Park a few days back.




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