Tortoises are characterized by, protected by, described by and hunted for their shells. We’re going to look into some interesting facts about tortoise shells as we look into the biology of tortoises including their evolution and how they’ve come to hold a lot of our fascination with their slow moving yet long lived lifestyle. Many people looking for a tortoise available would be surprised to know how unique they really are.
They’ve evolved to live in thin rocky islands in the middle of the sea, lush jungles in the Amazon, deserts in Africa and the cold steppes of Russia. All of this while carrying large and heavy domed shells made of bone on their backs. Some tortoises feed on vegetation and grasses while others feed on fruits and carrion.
The most obvious part of a tortoise is its large domed and usually brightly colored shell. The tortoise shell is a set of bones that are joined together at visible sutures called scutes. These bones form the top and bottom half of the shell called the carapace and the plastron. The carapace is connected to the ribcage and the backbone of the tortoise and serves to protect these slow moving animals from predators and the elements. This exact same device used for protection is what has caused the demise of many tortoises as they are hunted and killed for the use of their shells by humans.
Several years ago sailors passing through the Galapagos Islands brought about the extinction of some Giant Tortoise species by collecting them . Tortoises were easy to catch and load on a ship where they would last for weeks and supply fresh meat to the sailors at sea. At the same time tortoises through Asia and India were collated and murdered for the use of the beautiful shells in making combs, eyeglass frames and other fancy ornaments. Using plastics did a lot to curb this destruction of tortoises in addition to the enactment of numerous protective laws designed to stop the eradication of tortoise species.
These beautiful long lived animals can spend their entire lives in the same small area or roam a long distance as they search for food, mates and land to make their own. Tortoises in captivity quickly become a part of the household with their endearing nature and endless curiosity. You must always do your research first if you are considering picking up a tortoise for sale.
Amir has a passion for animals and an eye for detail. Having over 25 years of reptile breeding experience and husbandry means he has spent endless hours studying them and has a vast knowledge about reptiles including how they act, what are the best foods for a particular reptile species, how to breed them, which ones are best for your kids, the best ways of taking care of them etc..