Tortoise Species, Types, Facts, Diet, Habitat, Lifespan

Tortoise Species, Types, Facts, Diet, Habitat, Lifespan, Reproduction, Mating and many more information is gathered here. Get Everything about All Species of Tortoises from here.

What is a Tortoise?

Tortoise is a land-dwelling reptile belongs to the order Testudines. Tortoises are shielded by a shell to protect from predators like their aquatic cousins. The top part of the shell is hard which made up of carapace and plastron available under this shell. These two are connected with the bridge. The tortoises have both exoskeleton and endoskeleton. The size of the tortoises also varies from few centimeters to two meters.

Tortoises are the longest living land animal in the world but longest living species of the tortoise isn’t clear to anyone and it a matter of debate. The most of the species of tortoise can live 80-150 years. There is the lot of difference in the usage of common terms tortoise, turtle, and terrapin. These are the common names and do not exactly reflected the precise difference of biological or taxonomic.

Tortoise Scientific name: Testudinidae

The scientific name of the tortoise is Testudinidae. The researchers from the different countries are still disagreed to get this species in one class. The American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists uses ‘turtle’ term to represent all species of the order Testudines. In Britain, the term ‘turtle’ is not used for all the species of order as they use terrapin for the larger group of semi-aquatic turtles. Now, Australia has the different opinion than Americans and British. Land tortoises are not commonly seen in Australia, yet traditionally freshwater turtles have been called ‘Tortoises’ in Australia.

Tortoise Evolution

The exact family of the prehistoric reptiles is still haven’t identified which turned into modern tortoises and turtles. But one thing is sure that it wasn’t the placodonts. Lately, some pieces of evidence are found which are pointed to the role of Eunotosaurus. It is a late Permian reptile that has wide, elongated ribs curved over its back. Eunotosaurus itself seems to have been belong to the pareiasaur which is an obscure family of ancient reptiles, the most notable member of completely unshelled (Scutosaurus).

Recently, some evidence is found which links fossil to the land-dwelling Eunotosaurus. That all changed after the two big discoveries in 2008. First was the Chinese paleontologists announced the discovery of Odontochelys which lived for the 50 million years earlier. The researchers have identified a late Triassic Proto-turtle named as Pappochelys that have the intermediate form between Odontochelys and Eunotosaurus and thus fills the important gap in the fossil record.

What does Tortoise eat? [Tortoise Diet]

Tortoises live around the world in the different habitats. So, they just adapt to the environment and live according to it. The variety in habitats from temperate forest to harsh, or deserts. Tortoises eat plants. Most of the species eat the flora in their local ecosystem and adopt the seasonal changes when needed. If you have a pet tortoise then you have to take care of its essential diet that would it eat in the wild.

During the rainy season, the tortoises are comfortable to feed grasses, shrubs, succulents, and herbs. But during the dry season, they don’t have the many options to eat. So, they feed dry plants materials and adding the rabbit feces in their diet. The desert tortoises are completely herbivorous. They have the mostly desert grasses, flowers, and leafy plants in their diet.

Types of Tortoise

Generally, the word tortoises used for the members of this reptile family found on the land. There is still confusion between using the terms like ‘turtle’ and ‘Tortoise’. Basically, the confusion creates due to the language problem. There is the difference in the language used by the American and British. The tortoises related to the order Testudines which is divided into two categories of groups – Cryptodira and Pleurodira.

The order Testudines got the 14 families of tortoises which together comprise 97 genera of this reptile species. In which, Cryptodira consists of 11 families whereas Pleurodira consists of 3 families.


  • Cheloniidae
  • Carettochelyidae
  • Chelydridae
  • Emydidae
  • Dermatemydidae
  • Geoemydidae
  • Kinosternidae
  • Platysternidae
  • Testudinidae
  • Trionychidae


  • Chelidae
  • Pelomedusidae
  • Podocnemiddidae

Tortoise Species

The tortoises are the animals which name is still a matter of debate. The tortoises are living from the 250 million years as per records. Some of the researchers relate this species to the evolution of combination of one or two different dinosaurs. Here are the few common species that you can found one of them around you:

  • African Spurred Tortoise
  • Aldabra Tortoise
  • Leopard Tortoise
  • Russian Tortoise
  • Sulcata Tortoise
  • Red-Footed Tortoise
  • Radiated Tortoise
  • Malacochersus tornieri (Pancake Tortoise)
  • Hermann’s Tortoise
  • Marginated Tortoise
  • Gopher Tortoise
  • Greek Tortoise
  • Galapagos Tortoise
  • Elongated Tortoise
  • Hingeback Tortoise
  • Yellow Foot Tortoise
  • Desert Tortoise

Tortoise Habitat

A tortoise is a land-dwelling reptile from the order of Testudines. All tortoises are terrestrial. They live in the different type of habitats and adapt the things to live. The tortoises’ habitat can be deserts, arid grasslands, and scrub to evergreen forests, and from sea level to the mountainsides. Most of the species of tortoises live on the land but also some live in the fresh water. Tortoises found across the world in various habitats and conditions. They are also kept as the pets in many countries.

Tortoises adapt the changes in the environment around them. The tortoises are herbivores and consume their diet from its surroundings. The Tortoises have the slow metabolism rate. In wild, they have the carapace on their back which is hard. So, the tortoises use it as the shield to protect themselves from predators.

Tortoise Facts

These magnificent creatures come in all shapes and size and it adapts the different environments easily. Here we will discuss the interesting and amazing facts about rep that you hardly know:

Some Interesting facts about Tortoises

  • A Tortoise is a Turtle, but a turtle isn’t a tortoise
  • Its shell is made up 60 different bones all connected to each other.
  • Tortoises have well to all vision rounds are smell sense organs is very good.
  • It is life for a very long time approximately 150 years. However, the age average is 90 to 150 years.
  • Tortoise eggs incubate 90 to 12 days to hatch out.
  • Tortoises can’t swim but they can hold their breath for a long time.
  • It can smell with the throats.
  • The first spacecraft complete circle the moon and return safely to earth had the tortoise as the passenger.
  • Tortoises are cold blooded – they get warm from the environment.
  • Female tortoises are usually larger than the male tortoises.
  • When the baby tortoise breaks out the shell, it called hatchlings.
  • Tortoises can run as fast as 1mph (1.6 km/h).

Keeping tortoises as a pet is great because your kid really enjoys around. It can easily adapt to the environment of an area like hot and winter. It is very important to find out all the information about the species before getting it.

Tortoise Life Span [Tortoise Age]

Tortoises are one of the longest live animals, as some individual tortoises are known to live longer than 150 years. But an average lifespan of tortoise is between 90-150 years. The lifespan of the tortoise is also depended on the habitat and the environment in which they live. In the wild habitat, they can be the prey of the other animals as well. If they get the good conditions for the living then they can live more than 100 years without any doubt. The lifespan of the tortoise also depends on the species of the tortoise.

What is a Baby Tortoise called?

A baby tortoise is called hatchling. With the usage of the egg tooth its break the eggshell and come out. For the first few days, hatchings are very vulnerable and they depend on the embryonic sac for the nutrition until enough to find the food. Sometimes hatchlings wait to come out from the shell until all the embryonic sac is completely absorbed. In few cases, the sac leaked or damaged lead to the death the hatchling to death or die of infection.

In wild, most of the hatchlings are eaten by the predators like seabirds. But many conservancy organizations and zoos raise baby hatchlings to maturity.

What is a group of Tortoise called?

A group is Tortoises is called creep. But you won’t see the group of the turtles very often. They like to roam individual and you do not often see the group of turtles. You can see the mother tortoises are protective to their nests but until the hatch. After the hatchling, they don’t care about the young tortoises.

Are Tortoise Reptiles?

Yes, the tortoises belong to the reptile class because they have many similarities of the class invertebrates with dry scaly skin which lay the soft-shelled eggs on the land. They are cold-blooded and can’t regulate the temperate of the body internally. They consume the warm from the outer space or environment to keep warm their bodies. They are of the order Chelonian, in which all species of tortoises/ turtles relates. These are the ectothermic animals with scales and not have gills.

The structure of the tortoise is so similar to the reptiles. Both have the dry scaled skin and belong to the cold-blooded animals called reptiles. Both breathe air and can be found inland and fresh water.

Are Tortoise Amphibians?

Tortoises are not amphibians although they belong to the reptiles. It is not so hard to difference between amphibians and reptiles. Tortoise is the land-dwelling animal which is closely related to the turtles. Tortoise can’t swim in the water but they can stop breathing for a long time. The Amphibians have slimy, soft, and wet skin that dry out if not in water. Amphibians are never warm-blooded and even in the prehistoric time. The amphibians spend their most of the time underwater as they have the special counterparts to breathe underwater.

Are Tortoise Mammals?

A tortoise is a reptile, not a mammal. The reason behind to relate with the cold-blooded reptiles is tortoise have many similarities with the reptiles. The tortoises are also cold-blooded and this is the reason why they are active in daylight and not too much in the night. The tortoises are the land animal which can’t swim in the water all the time. Most of the tortoises are herbivores and live long if cared well. The tortoises are vertebrates and have a backbone. The mammals able to regulate the warm in their bodies internally yet tortoises are unable to maintain the heat.

Tortoise Mating & Reproduction

The tortoise sexual maturity does not depend on the age but on the size. They are polygamous and mating with many partners. A female tortoise is able to store sperm in her cloaca and fertilize her eggs for up to four years after mating. The male tortoises become aggressive in the mating season. When another male encountered in the area, he attacks the head of the other for warning and stands tall and attacks. Courtship occurs in the summer and spring season. Male and female tortoises can be aggressive during this time, but the female usually gives in eventually.

The male tortoise circles the female and often nodding his head and biting at the edges of her carapace and at her legs. The female tortoise digs a burrow for laying eggs with her front legs, then backs in and enlarges the egg chamber with their back legs. She lay between 12 – 40 eggs in the chamber before covering the nest. She urinated on the nests to keep away predators from the eggs. Some females often found to guard their eggs until the hatchling which usually takes 80 to 120 days. The young ones will get no parental protection after hatchling.

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