There are many types of tortoises, and with such a wide variety of species, it can be challenging to keep track of all that you should know about them. Luckily, we have put together a handy guide to the different tortoise species available, so you never have to worry about finding one suitable for your needs.
Speckled tortoises are the world's smallest species of Tortoise. These little tortoises are indigenous to the Little Namaqualand region of South Africa. They inhabit dry, rocky areas and feed on cacti and succulents. The status of these herbivorous tortoises is Endangered.
Shells of spotted tortoises are often gold-beige with black lines dividing the scutes. Their shells are relatively flat with scalloped edges and are covered with a pattern of black spots. Unlike many other tortoises, speckled tortoises have five toes on each front leg.
Egyptian tortoises are endemic to Egypt, Israel, and Libya and are classified as Critically Endangered. They inhabit semiarid environments and deserts and are the smallest species of turtle known in the Northern hemisphere.
Each scute of these uncommon tortoise shells is marked with dark triangle markings. In addition, they possess cream to dark brown plastrons. Although nothing is known about the wild diet of Egyptian tortoises, they are likely herbivores.
Egyptian tortoises belong to the group of tortoises known as Cryptodira, often known as neck-hiding tortoises. The name of these tortoises is derived from the fact that, unlike most other tortoises, they retract their heads directly back into their shells.
Russian tortoises are native to the arid steppes and deserts of Central Asia, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan. They prefer places with a higher altitude and rocky terrain. This Tortoise is a herbivore that consumes a variety of grasses.
Russian tortoises have yellow to brown skin and tan to brown shells with black patches in the middle of their scutes. Due to a Soviet space program in the 1960s, these tortoises were the first animals, including humans, to circumnavigate the moon.
The Greek tortoise (and its 12 subspecies) inhabits most of the Mediterranean, including coastal North African nations. They inhabit rocky regions with dry, hot weather or semiarid scrubland. They are a common species kept as pets.
The shells of Greek tortoises are yellow to dark brown with a mosaic-like design. Additionally, three spurs protrude from their thighs. These little tortoises enjoy burrowing and digging to escape the heat. They devour grasses and weeds as herbivores.
Hermann's tortoises are another popular species of pet turtle. However, their popularity has resulted in their designation as Near Threatened. They are distributed across the Mediterranean region and the southern Balkans. They reside in semiarid grasslands, dry woodlands, and rocky regions. Hermann's tortoises are herbivores that feed on weeds and grasses.
Hermann's tortoises have tan and light brown to yellowish shells with black patterns. Typically, their skin is either light or dark brown. Two subspecies occupy Eastern and Western regions, and the color varies between the two locations.
Pancake tortoises are indigenous to Kenya and Tanzania, occupying steep slopes, arid woodlands, and savanna. Colonies of these flat-shelled tortoises frequently inhabit the same rocky outcrop as they are adept climbers.
As its name suggests, Pancake tortoises have flat, brown shells that lack the substantial bone structure of other tortoise shells. This makes the Pancake tortoise more agile and nimble than other species. Each scute is decorated with dark lines, whereas the plastron is yellowish.
Herbivorous pancake tortoises eat on dry grasses. Unfortunately, these tortoises are Critically Endangered due to excessive collecting for the pet trade and the destruction of their habitat.
The only species of Tortoise found in North America, gopher tortoises, inhabit the southeastern United States. The Gopher tortoise is considered endangered in a significant portion of its range.
As a keystone species, the enormous tunnels of gopher tortoises serve as a shelter for around 360 other animal species during catastrophic catastrophes such as wildfires. These delicate reptiles are herbivores, feeding on more than 300 plant types.
The shells of gopher tortoises range from dark brown to gray, and adults typically lack distinct patterns. Yellow plastrons are utilized. Gopher tortoises have protective scales on their forelimbs to burrow more effectively.
Hinge back Tortoise
Several subspecies of hinge-back tortoises are endemic to portions of sub-Saharan Africa. Each of these tortoises has a 90-degree hinged portion at the back of its shell to protect its legs.
The hues of hinge-back tortoises range from dark brown to black. Numerous subspecies feature fluted edges on their exterior scutes, particularly in the head region. Some species of Hinge-back tortoises have markings that range from tan to black.
Hinge-back tortoises inhabit diverse habitats within their preferred subtropical or tropical environments. All Hinge-back tortoise subspecies are omnivores. In addition to plant debris, they will also ingest insects, worms, and other protein sources.
Indian Star Tortoise
Native to India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, Indian Star tortoises are a lively and unusual species. Due to excessive collection for the pet trade, these sought-after tortoises are now gravely endangered due to their attractive appearance.
The shells of Indian Star tortoises are dark brown or black with bright yellow or orange radiating patterns. This species has humps on the top of its shell frequently. These patterns aid the Tortoise's concealment in dense grass.
These gorgeous tortoises are primarily herbivorous and inhabit dry grasslands or woodlands. On occasion, they will also consume carrion. They belong to the tortoises known as Cryptodira, also known as neck-hiding tortoises. When threatened, they retract their heads directly within their shells.
Inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Thailand, and Vietnam, are elongated tortoises. They live in moist tropical forests and conceal themselves amid the leaf litter on the forest floor.
Tortoises with elongated shells have long, slender, tan to yellow shells and pale yellow heads. Additionally, some specimens may have dark brown markings on their shells. The skin of these tortoises is also light brown or yellow with a grayish tint.
The tortoises are a fascinating group of reptiles that have been around for millions of years and vary widely in size, shape, and color. There are over 300 species of tortoises living today! The most popular one is probably the African spurred Tortoise (Testudo graeca), which has been domesticated by humans for many years now.