Giant Tortoises


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Giant Tortoises

 

the two largest species of reptiles of the family Testudinidae (land tortoises). The species Geochelone elephantopus inhabits the Galápagos Islands. (The species was formerly subdivided into a number of species, which are now considered subspecies.) The carapace is up to 1 m long (sometimes as much as 1.5 m) and more than 0.5 m high. The tortoises weigh up to 100 kg; exceptionally large individuals may weigh as much as 400 kg. The males are larger than the females. The only remaining members of the species G. gigantea are found on the Aldabra Islands in the Indian Ocean.

Up until the 18th century several species of giant tortoises were distributed on the islands of the Pacific and Indian oceans. Beginning in the 17th century the tortoises were subjected to extensive slaughtering by man, who used the meat, the eggs, and the fat (to make a valuable oil). They were later preyed upon by mammals brought to the islands by man.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
It's very much a back-to-nature experience, and not the typical luxury resort - the 24 chalets are very plain inside, and meals are at set times - yet people flock here year round for the snorkling, kayaking and swimming, for the dark skies, pristine beaches, ground-nesting birds, flocks flying overhead, and the free-roaming giant tortoises.
[USA], Apr 19 (ANI): Climate change is a factor that might affect the Galapagos or giant tortoise's ability to migrate at the right time, reveals a study.
In captivity, the giant tortoises can easily live to more than 100 years.
Many species of the Giant tortoise are under threat.
QUITO (CyHAN)- Scientists have determined the existence of a second species of giant tortoise on the island of Santa Cruz, in the Galapagos archipelago, some 1,000 km off the coast of Ecuador, officials said on Wednesday.
GalEipagos giant tortoises are perhaps the most famous of the archipelago's animals.
Within minutes, we encounter one of the island's celebrities - an Aldabra giant tortoise affectionately called Big Daddy.
Caption: Officials have voted to use gigantea as part of the species name describing the iconic giant tortoises of the Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean.
The tortoise's age was not known but scientists believed he was about 100, not especially old for giant tortoises, who can live well over a century.
RELEASE OF 30 YOUNG ALDABRA GIANT TORTOISES Frgate Island has the second largest population of Aldabra Giant Tortoises, with approximately 2,000 free-roaming individuals.