Tortoises () are
reptiles Reptiles, as most commonly defined, are the animals in the class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or ...

of the family Testudinidae of the order Testudines (Latin: tortoise). They are particularly distinguished from other
turtles Turtles are an order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract state of being clean and free from germs, dirt, trash, or waste, ...

(which includes the order Chelonia) by being exclusively land-dwelling, while many (though not all) other turtle species are at least partly
aquatic Aquatic means relating to water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphe ...
. Like other turtles, tortoises have a
shell Shell may refer to: Architecture and design * Shell (structure), a thin structure ** Concrete shell, a thin shell of concrete, usually with no interior columns or exterior buttresses ** Thin-shell structure Science Biology * Seashell, a hard out ...
to protect from
predation Predation is a biological interaction In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical en ...

and other threats. The shell in tortoises is generally hard, and like other members of the suborder
Cryptodira The Cryptodira ('' el, hidden neck'') are a suborder of Testudines that includes most living tortoises and turtles. Cryptodira differ from Pleurodira (side-necked turtles) in that they lower their necks and pull the heads straight back into the ...
, they retract their necks and heads directly backwards into the shell to protect them. Tortoises can vary in size with some species, such as the
Galápagos giant tortoise
Galápagos giant tortoise
, growing to more than in length, whereas others like the Speckled cape tortoise have shells that measure only long. Several lineages of tortoises have independently evolved very large body sizes in excess of 100 kg, including the
Galapagos giant tortoise
Galapagos giant tortoise
and the
Aldabra giant tortoise The Aldabra giant tortoise (''Aldabrachelys gigantea''), from the islands of the Aldabra Aldabra is the world's second-largest coral Corals are marine invertebrates Marine invertebrates are the invertebrates that live in marine habitats ...
. They are usually
diurnal Diurnal ("daily Daily or The Daily may refer to: Journalism * Daily newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical publication containing written News, information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a ...
animals with tendencies to be
crepuscular A crepuscular animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organis ...

depending on the ambient temperatures. They are generally
reclusive A recluse is a person who lives in voluntary seclusion from the public and society. The word is from the Latin ''recludere'', which means "shut up" or "sequester". Historically, the word referred to a hermit's total isolation from the world. E ...
animals. Tortoises are the longest-living land animals in the world, although the longest-living species of tortoise is a matter of debate.
Galápagos tortoise The Galápagos tortoise complex or Galápagos giant tortoise complex is a species complex of 15 (13 Extant taxon, extant and 2 extinct) very large tortoise species in the genus ''Chelonoidis'' (which also contains three other species from mainl ...

Galápagos tortoise
s are noted to live over 150 years, but an
Aldabra giant tortoise The Aldabra giant tortoise (''Aldabrachelys gigantea''), from the islands of the Aldabra Aldabra is the world's second-largest coral Corals are marine invertebrates Marine invertebrates are the invertebrates that live in marine habitats ...
Adwaita Adwaita (meaning "one and only" in Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the ...

may have lived an estimated 255 years. In general, most tortoise species can live 80–150 years. Tortoises are placid and very slow moving, with an average walking speed of 0.2–0.5 km/h.


Differences exist in usage of the common terms
turtle Turtles are an order Order, ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is a quality that is characterized by a person’s interest in keeping their surroundings and themselves well organized, and is associated with other qu ...

, tortoise, and
terrapin Terrapins are one of several small species of turtle living in freshwater, fresh or brackish water. Terrapins do not form a taxonomic unit and may not be related. Many belong to the families Geoemydidae and Emydidae. The name "terrapin" is der ...
, depending on the variety of English being used; usage is inconsistent and contradictory.Simoons, Frederick J. (1991). ''Food in China: A Cultural and Historical Inquiry''. CRC Press. . p. 358. These terms are common names and do not reflect precise biological or taxonomic distinctions.Burton, Maurice and Burton, Robert (2002). ''International Wildlife Encyclopedia''. Marshall Cavendish. . p. 2796. The
American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists The American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (ASIH) is an international learned society A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organization that exists to promote a ...
uses "turtle" to describe all species of the order Testudines, regardless of whether they are land-dwelling or sea-dwelling, and uses "tortoise" as a more specific term for slow-moving terrestrial species. General American usage agrees; turtle is often a general term (although some restrict it to aquatic turtles); tortoise is used only in reference to terrestrial turtles or, more narrowly, only those members of Testudinidae, the family of modern land tortoises; and terrapin may refer to turtles that are small and live in fresh and brackish water, in particular the
diamondback terrapin The diamondback terrapin or simply terrapin (''Malaclemys terrapin'') is a species of turtle native to the Brackish water, brackish coastal tidal marshes of the eastern and southern United States, and in Bermuda. It belongs to the monotypic genus ...
(''Malaclemys terrapin'').What is the difference between turtles, terrapins, and tortoises?
, North Carolina Aquariums (July 1997).
Dawkins, Richard (2009). '' The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution''. Free Press. . p. 174. In America, for example, the members of the genus '' Terrapene'' dwell on land, yet are referred to as
box turtle Box turtles are North American turtle Turtles are an of s known as Testudines, characterized by a developed mainly from their ribs. Modern turtles are divided into two major groups, the s and which differ in the way the head retracts. ...

box turtle
s rather than tortoises. British usage, by contrast, tends not to use "turtle" as a generic term for all members of the order, and also applies the term "tortoises" broadly to all land-dwelling members of the order Testudines, regardless of whether they are actually members of the family Testudinidae. In Britain, terrapin is used to refer to a larger group of semiaquatic turtles than the restricted meaning in America.''Endangered Wildlife and Plants of the World'', Vol. 1. Marshall Cavenish. (2001). . p. 1476. Australian usage is different from both American and British usage. Land tortoises are not native to Australia, and traditionally freshwater turtles have been called "tortoises" in Australia.Romanowski, Nick (2010). ''Wetland Habitats: A Practical Guide to Restoration and Management''. CSIRO Publishing. . p. 134. Some Australian experts disapprove of this usage—believing that the term tortoises is "better confined to purely terrestrial animals with very different habits and needs, none of which are found in this country"—and promote the use of the term "freshwater turtle" to describe Australia's primarily aquatic members of the order Testudines because it avoids misleading use of the word "tortoise" and also is a useful distinction from marine turtles.


Life cycle

Most species of tortoises lay small clutch sizes, seldom exceeding 20 eggs, and many species have clutch sizes of only 1–2 eggs. Incubation is characteristically long in most species, the average incubation period are between 100 and 160.0 days. Egg-laying typically occurs at night, after which the mother tortoise covers her
clutch A clutch is a mechanical device that engages and disengages power transmission Transmission may refer to: Science and technology * Power transmissionPower transmission is the movement of energy from its place of generation to a location wh ...
with sand, soil, and organic material. The eggs are left unattended, and depending on the species, take from 60 to 120 days to incubate. The size of the egg depends on the size of the mother and can be estimated by examining the width of the
cloacal In animal anatomy, a cloaca (plural cloacae or ) is the posterior Body orifice, orifice that serves as the only opening for the Gut (anatomy), digestive, reproductive, and urinary tracts (if present) of many vertebrate animals. All amphibians, ...
opening between the
carapace A carapace is a Dorsum (biology), dorsal (upper) section of the exoskeleton or shell in a number of animal groups, including arthropods, such as crustaceans and arachnids, as well as vertebrates, such as turtles and tortoises. In turtles and tor ...
plastron The turtle shell is a shield for the ventral and dorsal parts of turtles (the Order (biology), order Testudines), completely enclosing all the vital organs of the turtle and in some cases even the head. It is constructed of modified bony elements ...

. The plastron of a female tortoise often has a noticeable V-shaped notch below the tail which facilitates passing the eggs. Upon completion of the incubation period, a fully formed
hatchling In oviparous Oviparous animals are female animals that lay their egg Diagram of a chicken egg in its 9th day. Membranes: allantois, chorion, amnion, and vitellus/ yolk. An egg is the organic vessel containing the zygote in which an emb ...

uses an
egg tooth An egg tooth is a temporary, sharp projection present on the bill Bill(s) may refer to: Common meanings * Banknote A banknote (often known as a bill (in the US and Canada), paper money, or simply a note) is a type of negotiable instrument ...
to break out of its shell. It digs to the surface of the nest and begins a life of survival on its own. They are hatched with an embryonic egg sac which serves as a source of nutrition for the first three to seven days until they have the strength and mobility to find food. Juvenile tortoises often require a different balance of nutrients than adults, so may eat foods which a more mature tortoise would not. For example, the young of a strictly
herbivorous A herbivore is an animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All ...
species commonly will consume
worm Worms are many different distantly related bilateral animals that typically have a long cylindrical tube-like body, no limb Limb can refer to: *Limb (anatomy), an appendage of a human or animal *Limb Music, a record label *Limb (album), an ...

s or insect
larva A larva (plural larvae ) is a distinct juvenile form many animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that f ...
e for additional protein. The number of concentric rings on the carapace, much like the cross-section of a
tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including only wood plants with se ...

, can sometimes give a clue to how old the animal is, but, since the growth depends highly on the accessibility of food and water, a tortoise that has access to plenty of
forage Forage is a plant material (mainly plant leaves and stems) eaten by grazing In agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentism, se ...

(or is regularly fed by its owner) with no seasonal variation will have no noticeable rings. Moreover, some tortoises grow more than one ring per season, and in some others, due to wear, some rings are no longer visible. Tortoises generally have one of the longest lifespans of any animal, and some individuals are known to have lived longer than 150 years. Because of this, they symbolize longevity in some cultures, such as
Chinese culture Chinese culture () is one of the world's oldest cultures, originating thousands of years ago. The culture prevails across a large geographical region in East Asia and is extremely diverse and varying, with customs and traditions varying grea ...
. The oldest tortoise ever recorded, and one of the oldest individual animals ever recorded, was Tu'i Malila, which was presented to the Tongan royal family by the British explorer James Cook shortly after its birth in 1777. Tu'i Malila remained in the care of the Tongan royal family until its death by natural causes on May 19, 1965, at the age of 188. The record for the longest-lived vertebrate is exceeded only by one other, a koi named Hanako (fish), Hanako, whose death on July 17, 1977, ended a 226-year lifespan. The Alipore Zoological Gardens, Alipore Zoo in India was the home to
Adwaita Adwaita (meaning "one and only" in Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the ...

, which zoo officials claimed was the oldest living animal until its death on March 23, 2006. Adwaita (also spelled Addwaita) was an
Aldabra giant tortoise The Aldabra giant tortoise (''Aldabrachelys gigantea''), from the islands of the Aldabra Aldabra is the world's second-largest coral Corals are marine invertebrates Marine invertebrates are the invertebrates that live in marine habitats ...
brought to India by Lord Wellesley, who handed it over to the Alipur Zoological Gardens in 1875 when the zoo was set up. West Bengal officials said records showed Adwaita was at least 150 years old, but other evidence pointed to 250. Adwaita was said to be the pet of Robert Clive. Harriet (turtle), Harriet was a resident at the Australia Zoo in Queensland from 1987 to her death in 2006; she was believed to have been brought to England by Charles Darwin aboard the HMS Beagle, ''Beagle'' and then on to Australia by John Clements Wickham. Harriet died on June 23, 2006, just shy of her 176th birthday. Timothy (tortoise), Timothy, a female spur-thighed tortoise, lived to be about 165 years old. For 38 years, she was carried as a mascot aboard various ships in Britain's Royal Navy. Then in 1892, at age 53, she retired to the grounds of Powderham Castle in Devon. Up to the time of her death in 2004, she was believed to be the United Kingdom's oldest resident. Jonathan (tortoise), Jonathan, a Dipsochelys hololissa, Seychelles giant tortoise living on the island of St Helena, may be as old as years or years.

Sexual dimorphism

Many species of tortoises are sexual dimorphism, sexually dimorphic, though the differences between males and females vary from species to species. In some species, males have a longer, more protruding neck plate than their female counterparts, while in others, the claws are longer on the females. The male plastron is curved inwards to aid reproduction. The easiest way to determine the sex of a tortoise is to look at the tail. The females, as a general rule, have smaller tails, dropped down, whereas the males have much longer tails which are usually pulled up and to the side of the rear shell.


The brain of a tortoise is extremely small. Red-footed tortoises, from Central and South America, do not have an area in the brain called the hippocampus, which relates to emotion, learning, memory and spatial navigation. Studies have shown that red-footed tortoises may rely on an area of the brain called the medial cortex for emotional actions, an area that humans use for actions such as decision making. In the 17th century, Francesco Redi performed an experiment that involved removing the brain of a land tortoise, which then proceeded to live six months. Freshwater tortoises, when subjected to the same experiment, continued similarly, but did not live so long. Redi also cut the head off a tortoise entirely, and it lived for 23 days.


Tortoises are found from southern North America to southern South America, around the Mediterranean basin, across Eurasia to Southeast Asia, in sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, and some Pacific islands. They are absent from Australasia. They live in diverse habitats, including deserts, arid grasslands, and scrub to wet evergreen forests, and from sea level to mountains. Most species, however, occupy semiarid habitats. Many large islands are or were characterized by species of giant tortoises. Part of the reason for this is that tortoises are very good at oceanic dispersal. Despite being unable to swim, tortoises are able to survive long periods adrift at sea because they can survive months without food or fresh water. Tortoises have been known to survive oceanic dispersals of more than 740 km. Once on islands tortoises faced few predators or competitors and could grow to very large sizes and become the dominant large herbivores on many islands due to their low metabolic rate and reduced need for fresh water compared to mammals. Today there are only two living species of giant tortoises, the
Aldabra giant tortoise The Aldabra giant tortoise (''Aldabrachelys gigantea''), from the islands of the Aldabra Aldabra is the world's second-largest coral Corals are marine invertebrates Marine invertebrates are the invertebrates that live in marine habitats ...
on Aldabra Atoll and the several species/subspecies of Galapagos giant tortoise found on the Galapagos Islands. However, until very recently giant tortoises could be found on nearly every major island group, including the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles (including Cuba and Hispaniola), the Lesser Antilles, the Canary Islands, Malta, the Seychelles, the Mascarene Islands (including Mauritius and Réunion, Reunion), and Madagascar. Most of these tortoises were wiped out by human arrival. Many of these giant tortoises are not closely related (belonging to different genera such as ''Megalochelys'', ''Chelonoidis'', ''Centrochelys'', ''Aldabrachelys'', ''Cylindraspis'', and ''Hesperotestudo''), but are thought to have independently evolved large body size through convergent evolution. Giant tortoises are notably absent from Australasia and many south Pacific islands, but the distantly related Meiolaniidae, meiolaniid turtles are thought to have filled the same niche. Giant tortoises are also known from the Oligocene-Pliocene of mainland North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, but are all now extinct, which is also attributed to human activity.


Tortoises are generally considered to be strict herbivory, herbivores, feeding on grasses, weeds, leafy greens, flowers, and some fruits. However, hunting and eating of birds has been observed on occasion. Pet tortoises typically require diets based on wild grasses, weeds, leafy greens and certain flowers. Certain species consume
worm Worms are many different distantly related bilateral animals that typically have a long cylindrical tube-like body, no limb Limb can refer to: *Limb (anatomy), an appendage of a human or animal *Limb Music, a record label *Limb (album), an ...

s or insects and carrion in their normal habitats. Too much protein is detrimental in herbivorous species, and has been associated with shell deformities and other medical problems. Different tortoise species vary greatly in their nutritional requirements.


Communication in tortoises is different from many other reptiles. Because they are restricted by their shell and short limbs, visual communication is not a strong form of communication in tortoises. Tortoises use Olfaction, olfactory cues to determine the sex of other tortoises so that they can find a potential mate. Haptic communication, Tactile communication is very important in tortoises during combat and courtship. In both combat and courtship, tortoises use ramming to communicate with other individuals.


This species list largely follows Turtle Taxonomy Working Group (2019) and the Turtle Extinctions Working Group (2015). Family Testudinidae Batsch 1788August Batsch, Batsch, A.J.G.C. (1788). ''Versuch einer Anleitung zur Kenntniss und Geschichte der Thiere und Mineralien. Erster Theil. Allgemeine Geschichte der Natur; besondre der Säugthiere, Vögel, Amphibien und Fische.'' Jena: Akademischen Buchandlung, 528 pp. * ''Agrionemys'' Khosatzky & Młynarski, 1966 ** ''Russian tortoise, Agrionemys horsfieldii'', Russian tortoise * ''Alatochelon'' ** ''Alatochelon myrteum'' * ''Aldabrachelys'' Loveridge and Williams 1957:166 ** ''Aldabra giant tortoise, Aldabrachelys gigantea'' Aldabran giant tortoise. ** Extinction, †''Aldabrachelys abrupta'' Late Holocene, extinct ''circa'' 1200 AD ** Extinction, †''Aldabrachelys grandidieri'' Late Holocene, extinct ''circa'' 884 AD * ''Astrochelys'' John Edward Gray, Gray, 1873:4 ** ''radiated tortoise, Astrochelys radiata'', radiated tortoise ** ''angonoka, Astrochelys yniphora'', angonoka tortoise, (Madagascan) plowshare tortoise * ''Centrochelys'' Gray 1872:5Gray, John Edward. (1872). "Appendix to the Catalogue of Shield Reptiles in the Collection of the British Museum. Part I. Testudinata (Tortoises)". London: British Museum, 28 pp. ** ''Centrochelys atlantica'' ** ''Centrochelys burchardi'' ** ''Centrochelys marocana'' ** ''Centrochelys robusta'' ** ''African spurred tortoise, Centrochelys sulcata'', African spurred tortoise, sulcata tortoise ** ''Centrochelys vulcanica'' * ''Chelonoidis'' Leopold Fitzinger, Fitzinger 1835:112 ** ''Chelonoidis alburyorum'' Abaco tortoise, Late Pleistocene, extinct ''c.'' 1400 CE ** ''red-footed tortoise, Chelonoidis carbonarius'', red-footed tortoise ** ''Argentine tortoise, Chelonoidis chilensis'', Chaco tortoise, Argentine tortoise or southern wood tortoise ** ''Chelonoidis cubensis'' Cuban giant tortoise ** ''Yellow-footed tortoise, Chelonoidis denticulatus'' Brazilian giant tortoise, yellow-footed tortoise * ''Chelonoidis dominicensis, C. dominicensis'' Dominican giant tortoise ** ''Chelonoidis lutzae'' Lutz's giant tortoise, Late Pleistocene ** ''Chelonoidis monensis'' Mona tortoise ** ''Chelonoidis niger'' complex: *** ''Chelonoidis abingdonii'', Pinta Island giant tortoise, Abingdon Island giant tortoise (extinct) *** ''Chelonoidis becki'', Wolf Volcano giant tortoise, Cape Berkeley giant tortoise *** ''Chelonoidis chathamensis'', San Cristobal giant tortoise, Chatham Island giant tortoise *** ''Chelonoidis darwini'', San Salvador giant tortoise, James Island giant tortoise *** ''Chelonoidis duncanensis'', Pinzon giant tortoise, Duncan Island giant tortoise *** ''Chelonoidis hoodensis'', Española giant tortoise, Hood Island giant tortoise *** ''Chelonoidis niger'', Floreana giant tortoise, Charles Island giant tortoise (extinct) *** ''Chelonoidis phantasticus'', Fernandina giant tortoise, Narborough Island giant tortoise *** ''Chelonoidis porteri'', Santa Cruz giant tortoise, Indefatigable Island giant tortoise *** ''Chelonoidis vicina'', Isabela Island giant tortoise, Albemarle Island giant tortoise ** ''Chelonoidis sellovii'' Southern Cone giant tortoise, Pleistocene ** ''Chelonoidis sombrerensis'' Sombrero giant tortoise, Late Pleistocene * ''Chersina'' Gray 1830:5 ** ''Angulate tortoise, Chersina angulata'', angulated tortoise, South African bowsprit tortoise * ''Cheirogaster'' Bergounioux 1935:78 ** †''Cheirogaster gymnesica'' Late Pliocene to Early Pleistocene ** †''Cheirogaster schafferi'' Pliocene to Early Pleistocene * ''Chersobius'' Fitzinger, 1835 ** ''Chersobius boulengeri'', Karoo padloper, Karoo dwarf tortoise, Boulenger's Cape tortoise ** ''Chersobius signatus'', speckled padloper tortoise ** ''Chersobius solus'', Nama padloper, Berger's Cape tortoise * †''Cylindraspis'' Fitzinger 1835:112 (all species extinct) following Austin and Arnold, 2001: ** ''Reunion giant tortoise, Cylindraspis indica'', synonym ''Cylindraspis borbonica'', Reunion giant tortoise ** ''saddle-backed Mauritius giant tortoise, Cylindraspis inepta'', saddle-backed Mauritius giant tortoise or Mauritius giant domed tortoise ** ''domed Rodrigues giant tortoise, Cylindraspis peltastes'', domed Rodrigues giant tortoise ** ''domed Mauritius giant tortoise, Cylindraspis triserrata'', domed Mauritius giant tortoise or Mauritius giant flat-shelled tortoise ** ''saddle-backed Rodrigues giant tortoise, Cylindraspis vosmaeri'', saddle-backed Rodrigues giant tortoise * ''Geochelone'' Fitzinger 1835:112 ** ''Geochelone burchardi'' Tenerife giant tortoise ** ''Geochelone vulcanica'' Gran Canaria giant tortoise ** ''Indian star tortoise, Geochelone elegans'', Indian star tortoise ** ''Burmese star tortoise, Geochelone platynota'', Burmese star tortoise ** ''Geochelone robusta'' Malta giant tortoise * ''Gopherus'' Constantine Rafinesque, Rafinesque 1832:64 ** ''Desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii'', Mojave desert tortoise, Agassiz's desert tortoise ** ''Texas tortoise, Gopherus berlandieri'', Texas tortoise, Berlandier's tortoise ** ''Bolson tortoise, Gopherus flavomarginatus'', Bolson tortoise ** ''Sonoran Desert tortoise, Gopherus morafkai'', Sonoran desert tortoise, Morafka's desert tortoise ** ''Gopherus polyphemus'', gopher tortoise * ''Hadrianus (genus), Hadrianus'' ** ''Hadrianus corsoni'' (syn. ''H. octonarius'') ** ''Hadrianus robustus'' ** ''Hadrianus schucherti'' ** ''Hadrianus utahensis'' * ''Hesperotestudo'' ** ''Hesperotestudo alleni'' ** ''Hesperotestudo angusticeps'' ** ''Hesperotestudo brontops'' ** ''Hesperotestudo equicomes'' ** ''Hesperotestudo impensa'' ** ''Hesperotestudo incisa'' ** ''Hesperotestudo johnstoni'' ** ''Hesperotestudo kalganensis'' ** ''Hesperotestudo niobrarensis'' ** ''Hesperotestudo orthopygia'' ** ''Hesperotestudo osborniana'' ** ''Hesperotestudo percrassa'' ** ''Hesperotestudo riggsi'' ** ''Hesperotestudo tumidus'' ** ''Hesperotestudo turgida'' ** ''Hesperotestudo wilsoni'' * ''Homopus'' Duméril and Bibron 1834:357Duméril, André Marie Constant and Bibron, Gab riel. 1834. Erpétologie Générale ou Histoire Naturelle Complète des Reptiles. Tome Premier. Paris: Roret, 439 pp. ** ''Homopus areolatus'', common padloper, parrot-beaked tortoise, beaked Cape tortoise ** ''Homopus femoralis'', greater padloper, greater dwarf tortoise * ''Indotestudo'' Wassili Adolfovitch Lindholm, Lindholm, 1929 ** ''Indotestudo elongata'', elongated tortoise, yellow-headed tortoise ** ''Indotestudo forstenii'', Forsten's tortoise, East Indian tortoise ** ''Indotestudo travancorica'', Travancore tortoise * ''Kinixys'' ** ''Kinixys belliana'', Bell's hinge-back tortoise ** ''Kinixys erosa'', forest hinge-back tortoise, serrated hinge-back tortoise ** ''Kinixys homeana'', Home's hinge-back tortoise ** ''Kinixys lobatsiana'', Lobatse hinge-back tortoise ** ''Kinixys natalensis'', Natal hinge-back tortoise ** ''Kinixys spekii'', Speke's hinge-back tortoise * ''Malacochersus'' Lindholm 1929:285 ** ''pancake tortoise, Malacochersus tornieri'', pancake tortoise * ''Manouria'' Gray 1854:133 ** ''Manouria emys'', Asian giant tortoise, brown tortoise (mountain tortoise) ** ''Impressed tortoise, Manouria impressa'', impressed tortoise * ''Megalochelys'' Falconer, H. and Cautley, P.T. 1837. ** ''Megalochelys atlas'', Atlas tortoise, Extinct – Pliocene to Pleistocene ** ''Megalochelys cautleyi'', Cautley's giant tortoise * ''Psammobates'' Fitzinger 1835:113 ** ''geometric tortoise, Psammobates geometricus'', geometric tortoise ** ''Psammobates oculifer'', serrated tent tortoise, Kalahari tent tortoise ** ''Psammobates tentorius'', African tent tortoise * ''Pyxis (genus), Pyxis'' Bell 1827:395 ** ''spider tortoise, Pyxis arachnoides'', (Madagascan) spider tortoise ** ''flat-backed spider tortoise, Pyxis planicauda'', flat-backed spider tortoise, (Madagascan) flat-tailed tortoise, flat-tailed spider tortoise * ''Stigmochelys'' Gray, 1873 ** ''Leopard tortoise, Stigmochelys pardalis'', leopard tortoise * ''Stylemys'' ** ''Stylemys botti'' ** ''Stylemys calaverensis'' ** ''Stylemys canetotiana'' ** ''Stylemys capax'' ** ''Stylemys conspecta'' ** ''Stylemys copei'' ** ''Stylemys emiliae'' ** ''Stylemys frizaciana'' ** ''Stylemys karakolensis'' ** ''Stylemys nebrascensis'' (syn. ''Stylemys amphithorax, S. amphithorax'') ** ''Stylemys neglectus'' ** ''Stylemys oregonensis'' ** ''Stylemys pygmea'' ** ''Stylemys uintensis'' ** ''Stylemys undabuna'' * ''Testudo (genus), Testudo'' ** ''Spur-thighed tortoise, Testudo graeca'', Greek tortoise, spur-thighed tortoise, Moorish tortoise ** ''Hermann's tortoise, Testudo hermanni'', Hermann's tortoise ** ''Kleinmann's tortoise, Testudo kleinmanni'', Egyptian tortoise, including Negev tortoise ** ''Marginated tortoise, Testudo marginata'', marginated tortoise


A molecular phylogeny of tortoises, following Le et al. (2006: 525): A separate phylogeny via mtDNA analysis was found by Kehlmaier ''et al.'' (2021):

In human culture

In religion

In Hinduism, Kurma ( sa, कुर्म) was the second Avatar of Vishnu. Like the Matsya Avatara, Kurma also belongs to the Satya Yuga. Vishnu took the form of a half-man, half-tortoise, the lower half being a tortoise. He is normally shown as having four arms. He sat on the bottom of the ocean after the Deluge (mythology), Great Flood. A mountain was placed on his back by the other deity, gods so they could churn the sea and find the ancient treasures of the Vedic period, Vedic peoples. In Judaism and early Christianity tortoises were seen as unclean animals. Tortoise shells were used by ancient Chinese as oracle bones to make predictions. The tortoise is a symbol of the Ancient Greek god, Hermes.

As pets

See Turtle#As_pets, turtle

As food

See turtle soup

In fiction

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an entertainment franchise. The four anthropomorphic turtle brothers trained in ninjitsu are shown to fight evil in New York City.


File:Tortoise-Hatchling.jpg, Baby ''Marginated tortoise, Testudo marginata'' emerges from its egg File:Baby tortoise.jpg, Baby tortoise, less than a day old File:Tortoise closeup.jpg, Young, 20-year-old Tanzanian leopard tortoise feeding on grass File:Aldabra.giant.tortoise.arp.jpg, Aldabra giant tortoise, ''Aldabrachelys gigantea, Geochelone gigantea'' File:Leopards tortoise.jpg, 22-year-old leopard tortoise File:Geochelone sulcata -Oakland Zoo -feeding-8a.jpg, African spurred tortoise from the Oakland Zoo File:Tortoise mating.jpg, Pair of African spurred tortoise, African spurred tortoises mate in a zoo File:TurtleRideIfrog.jpg, Boy rides a tortoise at a zoo File:Small tortoises mating.webm, Video of tortoises mating File:Young Hermann's Tortoise.jpg, Young ''Testudo hermanni''

See also

* Cultural depictions of turtles * Jackson ratio * Tortoise Protection Group


Further reading

* * * *

External links

Family Testudinidae (Tortoises)
The Reptile Database
Conservation and care of turtles.
Live Tortoise Stream
Live Tortoise Stream {{Authority control Tortoises, Testudinidae, Taxa named by August Batsch