Tortoises are mild-mannered ‘turtles’ that live on the land and feed almost exclusively on vegetation!

When we think of Tortoises, what usually comes to mind are giant highly-domed land dwelling turtles with stumpy legs; slowly moving about minding their own business while calmly munching on some type of plant matter.

Though many tortoises are quite large, such as the Galapagos Tortoise, there are in fact some tortoises that are quite small. One such animal is the African Speckled Tortoise which only grows to about 4″ (10 cm) long. Most tortoises do have high-domed shells (with only a couple exceptions) and they are all exclusively land dwellers eating primarily vegetation. They are quite awkward swimmers, and if they get in water that is too deep they can easily drown. They are quite long-lived, with 50 or more years not being unreasonable.

Tortoises are recommended only for an experience keeper, as they can have very specific temperature and humidity requirements. Many species can get quite big and will need a large environment. They are also subject to more serious health problems than other types of turtles and many tortoises are endangered.

The African Spurred Tortoise

Tortoises are offered for sale at pet stores, reptile shows, or through breeders; and can be moderately priced or extremely expensive.

PLEASE do not ever release a tortoise, or any reptile pet into the wild.  There are adoption organizations that will take your unwanted pet, no questions asked, and find the proper captive environment for it.  ( for details)

Greek Tortoise

Greek tortoise
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Testudo graeca

Leopard Tortoise

Leopard tortoise
Image Credit: Alta Oosthuizen, Shutterstock

Geochelone pardalis

Red-footed Tortoise

Red-Footed Tortoise
Image Credit: Brenda Carson, Shutterstock

Geochelone carbonaria

Russian Tortoise

Female Russian tortoise on a piece of wood
Image Credit: Haoss, Shutterstock

Testudo horsfieldii

Sulcata Tortoise

Sulcata tortoise
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Geochelone sulcata

Yellow-foot Tortoise

Yellow footed Tortoise
Image Credit: Diego Grandi, Shutterstock

Geochelone denticulata

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