The representatives of the Testudo family, the giant tortoises live on Galapagos and the Tortoise Islands. They can live for 100-250 years, which allowed them to develop their own local variety, with distinctive forms of carapaces.
It is unknown how those tortoises were discovered, but what is known is that they were so many, because of the good living conditions here, and because their long life allowed many generations to live at the same time. This leaded to a diversity and mixture of species. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the tortoises were hunted for food, by explorers. At a certain time, Galapagos was a stop for vessels that remained without food. During the 19th century, several species disappeared.
The giant tortoises can be divided in 10 species, and each one has 10 subspecies. The biggest are Testudo vicina and Testudo elephantopus, which can weight 450 kilograms, especially males. The carapace is thin and elastic considering its size, and the weight of the animal. Those live on land, in the interior of the islands, but they mate on the shores of the sea, where they get in 2-3 days. The female lays 8-17 eggs in a nest, which is covered with soft sand.
The giant tortoises usually eat algae and a special type of grass, called the sea grass, which grows near the waters. As other reptiles, they can live without water and food for a long time, up to 400 days.
The regenerating capacity of the tortoises is impressive, for example, if the carapace is burn or hurt in a proportion of 70%, it will be completely replaced in less than two years. Their survival force is impressive. It they suffer severe injuries and even amputations; they can live several months with missing members. There are also giant tortoises in India.
The Wonder Called the Galapagos Tortoise
The Characteristics of the Desert Tortoise
Breeding and Taking Care of the Land Tortoise
Most Important Types of Tortoises
Characteristics of the Radiated Tortoise
Taking Care of the Red Foot Tortoise