Giant Tortoises have become an endangered species. The most famous of their kind originate from the Galapagos Islands. Here, they have been living for thousands of years. They are the longest living vertebrates in the world, the oldest of which is said to have lived to approximately 152 years of age. However, it is possible that there are even older tortoises out there that have yet to be discovered. Here are some interesting facts about this magnificent creature.
Lifespan and Size
As mentioned above, the oldest giant tortoise lived to be 152. According to Animal Corner, the Galapagos Giant Tortoises will continue to grow in size until they reach the age of 40 to 50 years. They can also weigh up to 500 pounds and grow to around 5 feet in height. Their massive dome shaped shells provide them with security and protection from danger and predators. Unfortunately, their main predators in adult hood are humans. The youngest tortoises are also vulnerable to predators such as cats, wild dogs, rats and even pigs.
Habitats and Diet
Giant tortoises prefer wet highlands and areas of dense vegetation. They mainly eat leaved from shrubs and cacti. They also favour grasses, water ferns and bromeliads. As a herbivore, they tend to stay close to their main food sources, which is why they are most common in dense vegetation areas. They are able to survive for a long period of time without food and water. As far as shelters go, they tend to find one spot they like and stick to it. They are a creature of routine, preferring familiar grounds as opposed to the unfamiliar.
Behaviour and Traits
As a cold blooded reptile, giant Galapagos Tortoises enjoy being out in the hot sun to keep warm. They will often find a brush to keep warm at night when the temperature drops. You may also find them submerged in mud or water. As far as their behaviour goes, tortoises are incredibly peaceful and quiet. They move very slowly, around 0.3 km/h and enjoy browsing around to see what they can find. Many birds help the tortoises to get rid of annoying parasites, feeding the finches and keeping the tortoises happy.
If you plan on Galapagos Holidays from http://www.steppestravel.co.uk/galapagos-islands-holidays-and-cruises, keep a look out for giant tortoises on the islands of Santiago, San Cristobal and Isabella, where they are said to be most common.