Galápagos Giant Tortoise
Galápagos Giant Tortoise Facts
|Size||40-47 inch (100-120 cm)|
|Speed||Up to 0.3 mph (0.5 km/h)|
|Weight||440-661 lb (200-300 kg)|
|Food||Grass, herbs, fruits, cactuses|
|Predators||Falcons, wild dogs|
|Habitat||Galápagos archipelago (Pacific Ocean)|
|Scientific name||Chelonoidis nigra|
Galápagos giant tortoises belong to the biggest tortoises in the world. Data concerning size and weight often widely differ, but it seems to be proven that some of these animals can reach lengths of more than 70 inch (180 cm), measured from head to tail. The heaviest Galápagos giant tortoise in captivity weighed 930 lb (422 kg). The Leatherback sea turtle is even bigger than the Galápagos giant tortoise.
What Do Galápagos Giant Tortoise All Day Long?
Galápagos giant tortoises lead a quiet, peaceful life and sleep up to 16 hours a day. They can survive for up to one year without food and water, because they are able to store their resources extremely well.
Galápagos giant tortoises are very slow, but they are eager walkers – if they want to. They can cover distances of up to eight miles (13 km) within two days. Some tortoises were being equipped with electronic transmitters to document this.
Anatomy and Appearance
Some Galápagos giant tortoises have a dome-shaped shell, others have a shell resembling a saddle. On islands with a dry and hot climate, tortoises tend to have saddle-shaped shells. The shape allows them to stretch their neck further out to reach higher plants.
Do Galápagos Giant Tortoise Make Sounds?
If Galápagos giant tortoises feel threatened, they retreat into their shells and hiss. The noise is created when the air leaves their lungs.
How Do Galápagos Giant Tortoises Fight?
If two males fight, they lift their heads as high as possible. The male tortoise that can stretch its head higher than the others, wins the fight. It’s that simple!
The Oldest Galápagos Giant Tortoise
This was Harriet. She lived at the Australia Zoo in the State of Queensland (Australia) and died in 2006 at an age of about 175 or 176 years. Unfortunately, nobody knows her exact age.
Enemies and Threats
The Galápagos Giant Tortoise Is a Threatened Species
Up to the 19th century, the animals were hunted by sailors, because they needed food. Today there are only 3,000 to 5,000 of these animals left. Therefore they are a strictly protected species.
At the age of about 20 to 25 years, the tortoises become mature. After mating, the female Galápagos giant tortoise lays about 24 eggs into a nest and covers it with leaves. The little baby tortoises hatch after four to eight months and are left on their own right from the beginning.
What Does Galápagos Mean?
The Galápagos Islands have been named after the tortoises. The Spanish term Galápago indeed indicates a saddle which refers to their saddle-shaped shell.