Photo Friday: Galapagos Tortoises

Inspired by recent reports that a small group of baby tortoises has been spotted on the Galapagos Island of Pinzón after more than a century without a single baby tortoise sighting, this installment of Photo Friday is dedicated to the Galapagos Tortoise.

Galapagos - Santa Cruz Island - 12
Galapagos Tortoise on Santa Cruz Island

Giant Galapagos Tortoises are the largest tortoises in the world. They can grow to over five feet long (1.5 m) and weigh over 500 pounds (225 kg). Plus, they can live to be over 100 years old. In fact, according to National Geographic, the oldest tortoise in captivity lived to over 150 years of age.

Galapagos - Santa Cruz Island - 45
Galapagos Tortoise “Racing”

Galapagos Tortoises walk about a quarter of a mile per hour (less than one-third of a kilometer per hour). In Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin, Galapagos Island Tortoises are (slowly) racing each other although they never really get started as the horn makes them nervous and they hide in their shells.

Galapagos Tortoises are endangered and less than 20,000 (possibly no more than 15,000) remain by current estimates. Fortunately, groups such as the Galapagos Conservancy are working hard to increase these numbers by raising baby tortoises until they can survive in the wild and protecting their natural habitat. It’s even possible to spy on these amazing creatures through a Tortoise Cam. Reality TV at it’s best!

For more details about the recent baby tortoise find and a bit of history about the struggles of the Galapagos Tortoise, read this article from The Dodo on January 22, 2015.

“The Hindus give the world an elephant to support it, but they make the elephant stand upon a tortoise.”
― Mary ShelleyFrankenstein

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