The Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni) is a small to medium-sized reptile in the Testudinoidea family of land chelonians. It is related to the Greek Tortoise (Testudo graeca).
The Hermann’s Tortoise has a slightly domed, rounded shell, called a carapace. The carapace is black and pale-yellow with markings, but the colour fades with age, and becomes grey or straw-coloured. Its underbelly shell, called a plastron, is creamy-beige. It has no teeth, but it has a strong, short beak. It has scaly brownish-grey, stumpy legs with five claws. Its back legs are thicker than its front legs. The tip of its tail has a spur (a horny, short spike).
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The Spider Tortoise (Pyxis arachnoides) is a reptile in the Testudinidae family. It is named after the pattern on its shell.
The Spider Tortoise has a web-like pattern of yellow lines on its dark-brown carapace (upper shell). It has a dark head with yellow spots. It has a yellow, semi-hinged underbelly – the under shell is called a plastron. It pulls its head into its shell for protection. Its legs and tail are brown.
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What does a chelonian beak look like?
A turtle is a chelonian. Chelonians include turtles, tortoises, and terrapins.
All chelonians have a beak, like a parrot’s beak.
A chelonian has no teeth, so its beak is important for eating. Its beak has horny blades that are made of keratin.
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The Great Padloper (Homopus femoralis) is a small chelonian reptile in the Testudinidae family of land tortoises.
The Great Padloper Tortoise has a brown domed-shaped shell called a carapace, although it can be reddish-brown or olive-brown. It has darker markings bordering its scutes (scales). As it ages, the dark markings often become thin white lines. The top part of the carapace is slightly flattened. Its pale cream bottom shell is called a plastron. It has a small head and brown eyes. It has four toes on its thick, stumpy legs.
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It is common for the shell of a tortoise, in the wild, to show signs of everyday chips and knocks, both on the upper shell (carapace) and the lower shell (plastron).
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What is a group of tortoises or turtles called?
A group of tortoises or turtles is called a bale, a dole, a nest, or a turn of tortoises.
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The Russian Tortoise (Agrionemys horsfieldii) is a small chelonian reptile in the Testudinidae family. It is also known as the Afghan Tortoise, the Central Asian Tortoise, Horsfield’s Tortoise, the Steppe Tortoise, or the Four-Clawed Tortoise.
The Russian Tortoise can be various colours, but it usually has a brown or grey-black top dome-shaped shell, called a carapace. It has faded yellow-beige markings between its scutes (scales). It has a paler bottom shell, called a plastron. Its body is straw-yellow and brown. It has a small head and brown eyes. It has four toes on its thick, stumpy legs.
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The Red-Footed Tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonarius) is a medium-sized land chelonian reptile.
The Red-Footed Tortoise has a dark-coloured, oval-shaped, high-domed shell, called a carapace. The carapace has a lighter patch in the middle of each scute (scale). The undershell, called the plastron, is pale. It has pale-yellow to dark-red scales on its head and neck, whith males having more coloured scales. It has a small head with large black eyes. Its upper jaw is slightly hooked, and it has 15-20 teeth. It has stumpy, thick, short legs with four claws on its front legs and five claws on its back legs.
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The Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata) is a reptile in the Testudinidae family of tortoises.
The Radiated Tortoise has a high-domed shell, called a carapace. Its shell is brown with yellow radiating lines from the centre of each plate. Each pattern looks like a star or sea shell. It has a blunt head and thick, stumpy feet. Its legs, feet, and head are yellow, except for a patch of black on its head.
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The Eastern Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni peloponnesica) is a small to medium-sized land chelonian reptile. It is related to the Greek Tortoise (Testudo graeca).
The Eastern Hermann’s Tortoise has a slightly domed, rounded shell, called a carapace. The carapace is black and yellow with markings, but the colour fades with age, and becomes grey or straw-coloured. Its underbelly is creamy-beige. It has no teeth, but it has a strong, short beak. It has scaly brownish-grey, stumpy legs with five claws. Its back legs are thicker than its front legs. The tip of its tail has a spur (a horny, short spike).
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The Greek Tortoise (Testudo graeca graeca) is a small chelonian reptile. It is also known as the Spur-Thighed Tortoise.
The Greek Tortoise varies in colour and shell pattern, from dark-brown to bright yellow. The shell, called the carapace, is domed, and in some sub-species it bends upwards at the edges.
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Why does the Giant Tortoise have a long life span?
Why does the Giant Tortoise, particularly the Galapagos Island Giant Tortoise, a land tortoise, live for a century – a 100 years – or more?
An individual Pinta Island Giant Tortoise (Chelonoidis abingdonii), called Lonesome George, died in 2012, at the age of 100 or more. Scientists used his body for research to determine why he lived so long.
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Tortoises and turtles will come out of their shell if frightened. This is not true. This is a fallacy.
Actually, the reverse is true. Tortoises pull their head and feet into their shell so that predators cannot harm or eat them. They are too slow to run away, so hiding in their shell is their way of protecting themselves.
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The Leopard Tortoise (Geochelone pardalis) is a high-domed land reptile from Africa. It is a chelonian (all turtles, terrapins and tortoises are chelonians).
The Leopard Tortoise has a high-domed carapace (shell) with nearly vertical sides and a V-shaped notch at the front of its shell. It has a background yellow or yellow-brown colour with dark brown or black spots in a leopard-like pattern. Its head, legs, and tail are yellow-brown.
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The Aldabra Giant Tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea) is a large reptile, a chelonian, from the remote Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean.
The Aldabra Giant Tortoise has a grey-brown dome-shaped carapace (shell). It has a very long neck, and dark eyes. Its legs are short and stumpy, with flat feet – it is a slow mover.
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The Bell’s Hinge-Back Tortoise (Kinixys belliana) is a reptile – it is medium-sized African chelonian.
The Bell’s Tortoise is a light brown colour. It has a hinge on the back of its top shell (carapace). It has a 90-degree hinge, which protects its back legs and tail. The hinge is a broad band of flexible connective tissue. The shell is slightly domed and elongated. It has five claws on each front foot.
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The African Helmeted Terrapin (Pelomedusa subrufa) is also known as the Marsh Terrapin, the Crocodile Terrapin, or the African Side-Necked Terrapin. It is a semi-aquatic reptile from Africa, like tortoises and turtles – a chelonian.
The African Helmeted Terrapin looks like a helmet. Instead of its neck sticking in and out, it has a side-necked position where it places its head sideways in its shell. It black or brown shell (carapace) is slightly domed. Its tail and legs are grey-brown, and its underbelly is yellowish. The male has a long thick tail. The female has a shorter tail.
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The Pancake Tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri) is a flat-shelled tortoise from southern Kenya and northern Tanzania in east Africa. It is a reptile – a chelonian.
The Pancake Tortoise has a brown carapace (upper shell) with geometric patterns and a pale-yellow plastron (lower shell). The top shell is not domed like other tortoises. It is flat, thin, and flexible. Its head, legs, and tail are brown.
It is a fast mover – faster than the larger, domed tortoises. It is a good climber, and can climb over rocky ground. For protection against predators, it hides in crevices and gaps in rocky areas.
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The Pancake Tortoise has a shell that is as flat as a pancake.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
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