What is the Differences Between the Turtle and Tortoise?

Have you ever watched the movie ‘Ninja Turtle’? Yup, right. The film is an action film that tells the heroism of five turtles against criminals. They work together to quell evil and to save humans. What? Are you a fan of them? Wow amazing! How lucky you are because we will discuss about turtles.

For those of you who may not know turtles is one of the reptile animals and belongs to the oldest group even older than snakes or crocodiles. Of the 356 species known to live today, some of them are very endangered. Turtles are ectotherms which in other words, they are animals that are commonly called cold blooded which means that their internal temperature varies according to the surrounding environment. The study of turtles is called cheloniology.

In the UK, the word turtle is used for species that live in water, including those known in the US as terrapin, but not for terrestrial species, which are only known as tortoises. Terrapin can refer to small semi-aquatic turtles that live in fresh and brackish water, especially terrapin diamondback. In addition to terrapin, the difference in turtles is also found in Tortoise which may be for some people similar to turtles. Though Tortoise is not a turtle.

Tortoise are reptile species of the family Testudinidae of the order Testudines (the turtles). They are particularly distinguished from turtles by being land-dwelling, while many (though not all) turtle species are at least partly aquatic. Tortoise is a unique type of animal because among other vertebrates they have a chest and pelvic corset inside the rib cage. They are generally closed animals. Uniquely they can live hundreds of years.

So, what’s the differences between turtle and tortoise? Here we go.

  • Their appearance

Turtle and Tortoise both have shells that wrap around their bodies. This shell is also known as carapace. Tortoise is bigger than turtle. Tortoise shells are more like a dome and bigger. While turtle shells tend to be slimmer and elongated. The tortoise shell is larger and heavier than the turtle shell. The turtle shell is smaller and more sturdy. The tortoise has small and sturdy feet and their legs are bent, while the turtles have webbed feet with long claws adapted to swimming.

  • Distribution or habitat

The tortoise is mainly found in Africa, Asia, and some species are found in the Americas. The turtles on the other hand are distributed mainly across America and Africa. Turtles spend most of their lives in water, and their feet are adjusted for swimming. Sea turtles (Cheloniidae) adapt to aquatic life, and they hardly leave ocean water except women who visit the coast to lay eggs. Green Tortoise leaves the sea only for sunbathing on the reefs and the beach. Some turtles live in lakes and freshwater rivers or ponds. Tortoise is generally a land occupant and has strong legs. Those who live in hot habitat and dry place use their feet to dig the ground to burrow using their front legs.

  • Feed

The tortoise is mainly herbivore, although the other is prefer live food. While the turtle is mostly omnivore eating leafy vegetation, fruits, and meat. The meat is from small animals like fish, insect, and larvae.

  • Breeding

The turtles come ashore only to lay eggs and the female turtles will immediately go to the sea leaving their eggs. The turtles come ashore only to lay eggs and the female turtles will immediately go to the sea leaving their eggs. Hatchlings will stay in their nest for 90 to 120 days alone. This is different from Tortoise which will provide protection for almost 80 days after hatching. Tortoise spawn between 1 and 200 eggs depending on the species and the incubation period varies from 45 days to 18 months and it’s depending on the species.

  • Life span

Tortoise has ages ranging from 60 and 70 years and requires almost 50 years to reach maturity while turtles generally have ages ranging from 20 and 40 years. Tortoise, on the other hand, lives longer than 80 years, and some have been known to live up to 150 years. Even the oldest Tortoise is known to be 180 years old.

Although different, both turtle and tortoise are in the same family and genes. That’s why many people mistakenly assume that tortoises are old turtles. They have grown up and are getting bigger and are called tortoises. In the fact, tortoises and turtles are basically different. But that doesn’t mean they don’t experience growth. When they were born, they were also small. They also enlarge over time. But tortoises are indeed large turtles while turtles are not as big as tortoises.

Because some of them are endangered, it is important for us to aware that their existence is protected. Some of the problems that threaten them are trading their eggs. Believed to be able to cure illnesses, in fact that’s make tortoise eggs less and their existence threatened. This scheme makes them endangered.

Not only that, the increasingly unhealthy marine ecosystem due to factory waste and garbage make their place of life not friendly anymore. A lot of dirt that gets stuck on their bodies. Many tortoises die because a lot of garbage enters their bodies. Let’s protect them together.