Exploring the Different Types of Tortoise: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you curious about the differences between a tortoise, a turtle, and a terrapin? No need to worry, as it’s common to trip up on the distinctions. These three creatures may look alike, but they have fascinating differences! To make it easy, they are collectively referred to as ‘chelonian’.

Diving into the World of Chelonian

Chelonian Tortoise

In different parts of the world, these creatures are named based on where they reside. For instance, an American might say that a turtle lives in fresh water with some variations found in both land and the sea. However, the Aussies view it differently; if it swims, it’s a turtle, and if not, it’s a tortoise. All such fun facts make the world of chelonians a fascinating one to explore.

Understanding the Different Types Of Tortoise

A dome-shelled Galápagos giant tortoise
Matthew Field,, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Galapagos tortoise, with its impressive size and age, is widely known. This massive creature, often weighing over 600 pounds, can surprise you by living anywhere between 100 to 150 years! It is believed to have evolved into such a large size due to the absence of predators in the Galapagos Islands.

The List of Types Of Tortoise

Yellow-footed tortoise
Casey Klebba, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With over 70 distinct species and numerous subspecies across every continent except Antarctica, the various types of tortoises add another layer to the wonders of nature. Many of them make good pets, especially for those with previous animal handling experience. But it’s worth mentioning that while they require water, they aren’t the best swimmers and can jeopardize their safety in deep water.

Choosing the Ideal Types Of Tortoise as Pets

African Spurred Tortoise
John5199, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  1. The Brazilian Giant: If you have a liking for large tortoises, you may get along well with Brazilian Giants. Capable of growing up to 2 feet long, these intelligent creatures quickly adapt to a handler’s presence.
  2. The African Spurred Tortoise: The African Spurred tortoise with its unique spurs on its back legs can grow up to 30 inches in length. They have an outgoing personality and need a spacious accommodation adorned with plenty of vegetation.
  3. The Russian (Afghan) Tortoise: If you have limited room, the Afghan tortoise which seldom grows more than 6″ in length might be an ideal pick. This type of tortoise finds comfort in a hot, dry summer environment and enjoys burrowing in the ground.

Other Popular Types Of Tortoise as Pets

 Afghan tortoise
Yuriy75, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You may also want to consider the Leopard tortoise, known for its beauty; the sociable Red-footed tortoise; and the Greek tortoise, which, though very common, can be particularly susceptible to several diseases and therefore not the best first pet.

In conclusion, you’ll find a staggering variety when it comes to types of tortoises. Each species has its own unique features and behaviors, from gentle giants to speedy sprinters. Now, isn’t that interesting?

Scroll to Top