Meet New Friends!

Recommended friends are based on your interests. Make sure they are up to date.

Kidzworld Logo

Wild Things: Giant Galapagos Tortoise

The Galapagos Islands are named for the 250,000 giant tortoises that lived on the islands - "galapago" in Spanish means saddle and refers to the tortoise shell. Today, only 15,000 of these giants are left.

There were 15 subspecies, although only 11 still exist today. They have become extinct because of overhunting, and the introduction of goats, pigs, dogs and other animals which trample or eat the tortoise eggs and compete for food. Most like the upland areas of the large islands because of the humidity, grassy fields and ponds. The largest populations are in Alcedo, Isabela and Santa Cruz.

The 3 Types

The Galapagos tortoise comes in three versions, which are distinguished by the shape of their shells, sizes, colors and behavior:
1. Saddle-Backed: Mostly found on the lower drier islands. They have raised shells, long necks and limbs.
2. Dome-Shaped: Found on the upper parts of the islands, where plant growth is dense and thick. They have round shaped shells, very short necks and limbs.
3. Intermediate: This third race is a mix between the two described above.

Over the Hill

Some of the most impressive facts about the Galapagos Giant Tortoise is that they keep growing for 30 to 40 years, reaching almost five feet. They also weigh about 500 pounds. These are the largest tortoises in the world. In general, they are the longest living of all vertebrates (animals with backbones). Because of their life span, it's possible that some of the old-timers in Galapagos today hatched about the time of Darwin's visit (1835).

The oldest giant tortoise on record lived 152 years. Reliable records of tortoise life spans aren't available yet because people haven't been observing them long enough.

The Facts

Throughout the 19th century, giant tortoises were valued by sailors as food supply. They discovered that these docile animals could live for months without food or water, flipped on their backs, and stacked in the cargo hold of a ship. This gave the sailors a ready source of fresh meat when there was no land in sight. Historical records show that tens of thousands of tortoises were collected from the Galapagos, Seychelles, Mascarenes, and other islands.

Only one male, Lonesome George, of the four extinct races exists. Previously he lived on Pinta Island, but is presently kept at the Charles Darwin Research Station.

Related Stories:

Related Stories

We've been hearing a lot about stingrays ever since Steve Irwin was killed by one. We take a look...
Micro_xmas crabs_micro
If you've heard of Christmas Island then you've probably heard about the 120 million land crabs t...
These guys are small members of the crocodile family. But don't let their tiny appearance fool yo...
These guys really do exist! They don't look like the cartoon character very much, but they do hav...

What is the Greatest Threat to Endangered Species?

  • Poaching/Trophy Hunting/Net Fishing
  • Polluting - Oil Spills, Air Emmisions...
  • Corporate Destruction - Clear Cutting, Chemical Dumping...

Random In The Forums

"-Oracle-" wrote:"Our minds are constantly being invaded by legions of half-truths, prejudices, and false facts. One of the great needs of mankind is to be lifted above the morass of false propaganda." OMG!! awesome quote!!!!!  I'm totally writing it down :D
reply 11 minutes
-Oracle- posted in General:
"Our minds are constantly being invaded by legions of half-truths, prejudices, and false facts. One of the great needs of mankind is to be lifted above the morass of false propaganda."
reply about 1 hour
reply about 9 hours
Pink_Cool_Girl posted in General:
I wanted to say something to everyone. But since I want to, you must read this. Enjoy my message.  ★★★★★ 1. I need you to look at 5 ★ ★ 2. The answer is look at 11 :) ★ ★ 3. Don't get mad and look at 13 ★ ★ 4. Calm down don't be mad and look at 15 ★ ★ 5. First look at 2 ★ ★ 6. Don't be angry look at 12 ★ ★ 7. All I wanted to say was hello, and that I wasted 30 seconds of your life. Not that you had one, anyways.  ★ ★ 8. Look at number 14 ★ ★ 9. Be patient look number 4 ★ ★ 10. Finally look at 7 ★ ★ 11. I hope your not mad, look at 6 ★ ★ 12. Take a look at 8 ★ ★ 13. Just glance at 10 ★ ★ 14. ...Look at 3 :) ★ ★ 15. LOOK AT 9 ASAP ★★★★★
reply about 9 hours
Hi! I'm making this so I can get commissions to draw something from someone. I love doing commissions, and I love drawing :3 If you'd like to request something, here's what I'll need to know. Note: I tend to do humans (mostly OCs for people) and fail at inanimate objects/plants/animals, but I can try XD Style: Realistic (Hardest for me) *A selection of a head shape. Like, oblong, square, oval, etc., and if you don't know all them or what they look like, look up some charts of head shapes, and pick your favorite. Or just, whatever your character has XD *A body type. Chubby, skinny, average, toned, etc. *Height, generally. I'm not good at putting a height effect in, but I can try :P *Eye shape. Good to look up a chart for this, too, and choose the one you like. Also say whether or not they're wide-spaced, close-set, or the classic one-eye-apart. Note, though, that Africans/African-Americans tend to have wide-spaced eyes. *Ethnicity. European, African/African-American, Asian, etc... it's good to know, since some ethnicities have different proportions than others. And yeah, Google doesn't think "ethnicities" is a word. I'm not sure either XD *Age. It'll make a difference in heads tall. *Gender. It'll make a difference in features. *Hair color, hair length, and a good description or image example of what it's styled like. *A good description or an image example of what the person wears. *A good description or an image example of what the pose the person is doing is. *If you prefer, it can be done in black-and-white. You don't have to include colors if you want black-and-white. That's all I can think of for that style, so if you think of anything else, please add it in! X3 You can also just use embedded images for all of the areas, if you so wish. If you desire to see my skill level before you request a drawing, I'll be posting an example of each style I do this weekend. Now... for anime/manga. *Essentially the same as realistic, but with the eyes, it's best to provide examples for the shape of the eyes. Anime/manga elements should be included, too :P That's all. If you have some other style I should try, or have some tips on how I can improve, please tell me! ^-^ I already know I need to work on clothing wrinkles for sure, so any help on that is greatly appreciated. (Eventually, over the weekend, I'll make forms for each individual style... And an example of my work in each form.) Oh! Media forms! Here's what I offer, and the time expected... Pencil and paper (Just shading): One day (1-2 commissions), 2-3 days (3-6 commissions), 3-5 days (7-10 commissions), 5+ days (11+ commissions). NOTE: ESTIMATES. Pencil and paper (In color): Same amount of time as the above. Digitally drawn (Longest): Five days (1-2 commissions), it really just depends though. Expect digital ones to take at least a week.
reply about 9 hours