Land Tortoise


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Land Tortoise

 

(also land turtle), a general name for tortoises that live on dry land and in freshwaters, as contrasted with sea turtles. In a narrower sense, the name is used to designate turtles of the family Testudinidae of the order Testudinata.

Land tortoises range in length from 10 cm to 1 m and greater (for example, elephant tortoises). The extremely strong shell is usually high and spherical. The upper shell, or carapace, is firmly joined with the lower shell, or plastron. Both shells are covered with thick, large horny shields; the head and feet are covered with small shields. The toes have been fused together so that only the short claws move separately. The head can be retracted completely into the shell. The flat African turtle (Malacochersus tomieri) of Kenya and Tanzania has a soft, flattened shell, which makes hiding under rocks and in rock crevices possible.

There are more than ten genera of land tortoises, comprising about 40 species. Most species are found in Africa, but some are also encountered in Asia, southern Europe, and America. Although the animals are slow moving, they are very hardy in unfavorable environmental conditions. Some land tortoises have a life-span of 100 years or more. The animals are primarily herbivorous. Their eggs have a calcareous shell. Two species of land tortoise are found in the USSR. The European tortoise (Testudo graeca), which has a spherical shell and is five-toed, is found on the Black Sea coast and in eastern Transcaucasia and Dagestan. The tortoise Agrionemys horsfieldi, which has a.flattened shell and four toes on the front legs, is found in southern Kazakhstan and the plains of Middle Asia.

L. I. KHOZATSKII

References in periodicals archive ?
The dazed and confused identity of Agassiz's Land Tortoise, Gopherus agassizii, the description of a new species, and its consequences for conservation.
The Land Tortoise's resting place was discovered on June 26, 1990.
For several unhappy decades, keepers tried in vain to mate "Harry" with female Galapagos land tortoises. Not surprisingly, Harriet was denied young of her own, and when she wasn't being coaxed into same-sex encounters with female tortoises, she gave piggyback rides to human children.
Essentially untouched, the Land Tortoise is the sole survivor of about a dozen floating batteries built in the 18th century in North America, unique to Lake George and Lake Champlain.
Harriet the Galapagos Land Tortoise is congratulated by her keepers at The Australia Zoo on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, Nicole Byrne (left) and Diane Sandham.
Other than marine turtles, as many as eight species of freshwater turtles and two species of land tortoises are found in the country.
The resort will highlight conservation efforts and is home to the second largest population of Giant Aldabra Land Tortoises.
Angonoka tortoises, which originate from Madagascar, are among one of the rarest and most critically endangered land tortoises in the world.
Remains at Warm Mineral Springs and Little Salt Springs reveal a world where people lived among giant ground sloths, saber-toothed cats and giant land tortoises. Mammoth and mastodon were among the giants of this late-Pleistocene-era landscape, and humans were already beginning to manipulate shells to serve their needs.
Since there is no known vaccine US authorities have put a ban on the import of certain tropical land tortoises because of outbreaks.
The Pets World store in Swansea is selling eight-inch long African land tortoises for pounds 117 but they grow up to 3ft in length and weigh as much as a half a sack of potatoes.

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