Giant Tortoises


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

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.

References in periodicals archive ?
The GalEipagos giant tortoises caught the public imagination with the discovery of "Lonesome George" -- thought to be the last of the Chelonoidis nigra abingdonii subspecies -- in 1971.
Below: Abraham, a 60-year-old giant tortoise on Mahe Pictures, SIMON HADLEY; The airport departures and arrival lounge at Denis Island
The Malaysian giant tortoise and the Asian brown tortoise Manouria emys are the only species present in DSNP that are listed as protected.
A giant tortoise in the wild on Isabela Island, Galapagos
Passing camels, zebras and rhinos, the narrow gauge railway meandered down the hill until we reached the giant tortoises.
Lonesome George, a giant tortoise thought to be the rarest creature in the world, has died at the Galapagos National Park in Ecuador.
David Attenborough looks at the armoured behemoths of the reptile kingdom, including giant tortoises.
We saw a whale then too and later we spent hours watching the giant tortoises - finding the biggest ones wild in the highlands on Santa Cruz.
Late last month, 39 giant tortoises were released on Pinta Island in the Galapagos Archipelago in an effort to restore the island's ecosystem.
For the last in the series, David Attenborough (above) focuses on the armoured giants of the reptile kingdom, including giant tortoises and caimans.
Topics include conservation, volcanoes, vertebrate diversity, vegetation changes, restoration efforts, and research on species like lichen, snails, sharks, giant tortoises, iguanas, the waved albatross, and cold water species, as well as Sarah Darwin's reflections on her family history of Galapagos research.
Because Aldabra giant tortoises are native to the Seychelles - an archipelago off the eastern coast of Africa - Ozzie has had some difficulty adjusting to Oregon's winter climate, even in a heated indoor enclosure.