Turtles have been living on our planet since ancient times. It is interesting how diverse the species of these reptiles are. There are terrestrial and marine, large and small, predatory and vegetarian turtles. Even within the same species, animals differ in size and weight.
Rating of the largest turtles
There are real giants among these reptiles. Some individuals are even listed in the Guinness Book of Records.
The largest turtles in the world are listed in the Top 5 in decreasing order of parameters:
- Elephant or Galapagos.
- Giant Seychellois.
This is the largest turtle species. It belongs to the suborder of the cryptic.
Giant tortoises live in the southern warm seas, although they can swim in the waters of temperate latitudes and even the northern waters of the oceans. But the reptile needs more food to survive in cold waters.
It is difficult to meet this giant in nature. Basically, this aquatic turtle lives in the depths of the sea. The largest turtle in the world has a body density similar to that of sea water, which allows it to spend most of its life almost at the very bottom. Only in order to lay eggs does the reptile come ashore.
Scientists suggest that no one has yet seen the largest sea leatherback turtles, since they practically do not show up on earth. They are very cautious creatures.
Their distinguishing feature is the absence of a strong shell. Instead, the body of the largest turtle is covered with skin. Unable to hide inside the shell, the reptile becomes vulnerable and shy.
But at depth, the largest turtle in the world feels the best. She can reach speeds while swimming up to 35 km per hour.
The amphibian feeds on crustaceans, mollusks, small fish, jellyfish, trepangs, which are found in abundance in the sea. This is a predator. But the leatherback turtle does not attack large prey.
The life span of reptiles of this species rarely exceeds 40 years.
The average body length of an adult is 200 cm. But a reptile was found that was significantly larger than the rest. Its body length was 260 cm, the span of the front flippers reached 5 meters. And the largest turtle weighed 916 kg. Although according to some reports, its mass was only 600 kg. But we can say with full confidence that it was the heaviest turtle in the world.
Usually these giants are quite peaceful. But they also have bouts of aggression. A case is known when one large individual mistook a small boat with people on board for a shark. This hulk fearlessly went to the ram and won.
If the animal is very angry, with its strong jaws it easily bites a branch, a mop handle. So it is not difficult to imagine what will happen to a human arm or leg if they get into the mouth of an angry animal.
Elephant or Galapagos
This is the largest land tortoise. This species is distinguished by its longevity. In captivity, they live up to 170 years on average. They are found exclusively in the Galapagos Islands – hence the second name of the species.
Initially, there were 15 subspecies of these reptiles. But people killed animals for their delicious meat, for making butter from them. Only 10 subspecies managed to maintain their populations. From the eleventh subspecies, until 2012, there was only one individual living in captivity. The male who went down in history was given the name Lonesome George.
At the beginning of the XNUMXth century, people began to make efforts to keep these huge turtles on the planet. A program was developed to incubate reptile eggs and raise young. The grown turtles were released into the wild. But today these huge turtles are included in the list of “vulnerable animals of the planet.”
This largest land turtle in the world has a large shell, inside which it pulls its head and paws in time of danger. The light brown carapace is connected to the ribs of the reptile and is part of the skeleton.
Although the age of a reptile is often tried to be determined by the rings of the carapace, this is ineffective in this case. Old layers of drawing are erased over the years. Therefore, today, in order to prove that giant tortoises are indeed centenarians, they do DNA analysis.
Giant tortoises feed on plant foods. They gladly absorb even those plants that are poisonous.
Galapagos tortoises are very peaceful, well tamed, even amenable to training. They respond to the nickname, go out on a signal, they can learn to pull the bell themselves, demanding attention or treats.
The size and weight of the reptile depends on climatic conditions. In places where there is low humidity, these reptiles are much smaller than those that live in less arid areas. They reach only 54 kg of weight.
But under favorable conditions, a real giant tortoise can grow. An individual was registered, the length of the carapace of which reached 122 cm. This giant tortoise weighed 3 centners.
Video: elephant turtle feeding
This large sea turtle is the only species of its kind. Although the reptile is named for its color, olive, yellow, white and dark brown spots are present in its color.
The reptile lives in the oceanic tropics and subtropics. This includes the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
In childhood, the young are almost all the time in the sea. Her diet consists of jellyfish, fish fry and other small living creatures. But gradually the animal switches to plant foods. Now part of the time it spends on the ground.
The average size of an animal’s shell varies from 80 to 150 cm. The body weight of reptiles of this species ranges from 70 to 200 kg. Although there are very large individuals up to two meters long and weighing half a ton.
Video: interesting facts about the green turtle
Video: swimming with a green turtle
This type of reptile belongs to the caiman family. Individuals of vulture turtles look quite intimidating. The hook-shaped beak on the upper jaw resembles the image of a horror movie monster or an ancient prehistoric evil creature. This impression is complemented by three sharply protruding ridges on the back of the shell. They have sawtooth notches. They are also provided with the lower edge of the carapace.
Reptiles live in canals, rivers and ponds of the southeastern United States. You can meet her on the beaches of Mississippi. Occasionally individuals are found north of this range.
Adult vulture turtles can reach a length of one and a half meters and weigh 60 kg. But people often pick up small individuals in order to take a closer look at the “monster”.
In such cases, the reptile begins to open its mouth wide, frightening the enemy, and releases a jet from the cloaca. If attempts to intimidate do not work, the animal may bite painfully.
Important! Do not test the patience of a vulture turtle. Her jaws are very strong. The bite of even a small reptile can severely injure a finger or hand.
Video: Vulture Tortoise Bite Force
A large individual can sometimes attack a person herself. This does not happen spontaneously, but for quite understandable reasons. The animal will simply consider that the person nearby is a potential threat. Then the reptile can bite the offender or pry the swimmer with the points of the shell and rip the skin and even muscles.
Important! This species is prohibited for keeping at home. The animal is practically untamed.
Video: vulture and caiman turtle
Gigantic (giant) Seychelles
The habitat of this species of reptiles is narrow. They can be found in nature only on the island of Aldabra, which is part of the Seychelles. Today there are several induced colonies of these reptiles.
These giants prefer to settle in places rich in vegetation and in mango swamps. This is due to their food predilection. Reptiles in nature feed on grass and shrubs, sometimes adults feast on tree branches. In captivity, pets eat bananas, fruits, vegetables. One reptile can eat up to 25 kg of food per day.
The big danger for turtles is … goats. These mammals were brought to the island, where they gradually became wild. Goats have become enemies of turtles not only because they take away food from them. Horned artiodactyls have learned to break the shell of reptiles on stones and enjoy their meat with pleasure.
The growth of the reptile continues until the age of forty. During this time, an individual can reach a length of 120 cm. But the average size rarely exceeds 105 cm. By weight, the largest representatives of the species reached a quarter of a ton – 250 kg.
With a long neck, the animal can reach the lower branches of an average tree, located a meter from the ground. The legs of the reptile are thick, powerful, strong.
Some representatives are often used instead of cars for riding children.
These animals are very curious and friendly. They allow tourists to scratch their necks and stroke their shells, and take food from people’s hands with pleasure.
There are such different turtles: some should be feared, while others, even very large ones, willingly make contact with a person and his pets.
The largest land and sea turtles in the world
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