Thursday, October 24, 2013

Is Tortoise Rescue Required?

 The ecologists are alarmed about the great number of tortoises that die on the coasts of Kenya. The largest number of deceases is owned to hunting, fishing, and to the fact that nobody monitors the tortoises in some important areas of the world.

In the world of terrestrial animal life, protecting the tortoise is mandatory. The decline of this species represents a barometer of the health of the entire ecosystem. Despite the legislation that protects the tortoises, those are still exploited for meat and eggs. Moreover, the habitats of tortoises are destroyed by the expansion of urban areas, and hundreds of exemplars die every year because of deforestation. With the current dying rate, the majority of tortoises will disappear in about 20 years. The future of the tortoise is unsafe if we can’t evaluate the dimensions of the disaster.

The tortoise is proverbial by its longevity, and only a few people know that it never gets old. The tortoises don’t die of age, they die because of diseases, and so many times, they end up dying of hunger, because at a venerable age, they simply don’t want to look for food anymore.

Researches show that the internal organs of the tortoise, even for the old exemplars have the same characteristics as the ones of a young one. In the Zoo of Calcutta, an exemplar that was supposed to be 250 years old died, but the internal organs looked exactly like the ones of a young one. It is possible to find tortoises that are even older, but this is not easy to prove.

The researchers were not able to find a logical explanation for this phenomenon. It is likely for the secret of longevity to be connected with the eating habits. The tortoises are omnivores usually, so they eat what they find, including vegetables, fruits, animals and insects.

There are more than 320 species of tortoises, spread around all the continents, with the exception or Antarctica. They are heavily protected against the predators, as their carapace is impenetrable. Under this aspect, the most dangerous enemy of the tortoise is the humankind, as they use them for food but also as pets.

One of the most important examples of extinct species is the one of Galapagos Islands. Here, several years ago, tortoises of 1.3 meters length and with a weight of 300 kilograms existed. For tourists, they are a great attraction, but there are even bigger exemplars. Those can only be found in their natural habitat, and they can weight almost one ton.

All the tortoises reproduce with eggs, which are buried by the female in the sand. The female leaves the eggs immediately after, and this is one of the most important reasons for which the tortoises don’t reach maturity in the majority of time. The babies hatch in 1-12 months, depending on the type of tortoise. Before mating, the female is courted by several males, which have to fight, and sometimes they hurt themselves pretty bad. However, nobody dies in this duel.

Related Posts:

The Indian Star Tortoise

The Pancake Tortoise

The Greek Tortoise

The Russian Tortoise

 The Egyptian Tortoise

Taking Care of a Baby Tortoise

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