Difference Between Turtle and Tortoise?

What is a tortoise anyway? Is it just a fancy way to say turtle? Well, actually, theres a meaningful difference between tortoises and other turtles. All tortoises are in fact turtlesthat is, they belong to the order Testudines or Chelonia, reptiles having bodies encased in a bony shellbut not all turtles are tortoises. If tortoises are turtles, why not just call all turtlelike creatures turtle? Because if the animal youre referring to is a tortoise, some wise guy is going to correct you every time.

Can you call a tortoise a turtle?

Yes. American English often uses “turtle” for tortoise, in British English the two terms are not interchangeable, and (for what it’s worth) Indian English often uses tortoise as the generic term for both turtles and tortoises.

Which is bigger tortoise or turtle?

Turtles are generally larger than tortoises. The largest turtle is the leatherback turtle. It can weight anywhere 300 to 700 kilos. The largest tortoise is the Aldabra giant tortoise, with adult males weighing an average of 250 kilos.

Is every turtle a tortoise?

Well, actually, there’s a meaningful difference between tortoises and other turtles. All tortoises are in fact turtles —that is, they belong to the order Testudines or Chelonia, reptiles having bodies encased in a bony shell—but not all turtles are tortoises.

Can tortoise live in water?

Turtles inhabit water bodies (both fresh and sea water), are smaller in size and their life spans are lower than tortoises’. Instead of feet, they have flippers making it easier for them to swim.

Turtle vs. Tortoise: Whats The Difference? Published February 2, 2021 Those who attended the University of Maryland or are familiar with this institution know to fear the turtle. Thanks to their trusty mascot, Testudo, this slogan is a favorite of students and fans. But is Testudo the terrapin actually a turtle or a tortoise? And is there even a difference between them? Lets take a closer look. What is a turtle? Turtles and tortoises are both reptiles that belong to the order Testudines. This order is comprised of aquatic and terrestrial species that have their trunk enclosed in a shell. To be specific, that shell consists of a dorsal carapaceor shell coveringand a ventral plastron (the bottom part of the shell). The architecture of this shell that houses the skeleton is unique to turtles. Turtles cannot leave their shell or shed it for a new one. The word turtle dates back to around 162535. It originated from an alteration of the French tortue, which is itself derived from the Latin word for this animal, tortca. To use the word correctly, you might say: Her family refers to her as The Turtle because she is quick to retreat into her shell instead of getting to know people. Out of all of the animals he grew up with, Gabes favorite pet was his beloved turtle, Shelly, whose shell patterns inspired his artwork. Since turtle, or the order Testudines, refers to reptiles who have their bodies protected or encased within a shell, its no surprise that there are many species of turtles: 356 of them to be exact. Some of these types of turtles include sea turtle, box turtle, green turtle, and snapping turtle. However, an aquatic turtle can be distinguished from a terrestrial one, known as a tortoise. Do you have animal instincts when it comes to spelling? Find out with this animal spelling quiz. What is a tortoise? A tortoise is a noun that refers to a terrestrial turtle or a slow-moving person. This type of turtle belongs to the family Testudinidae and typically spends its time on land. Tortoise was first recorded in English around 13501400. It originated as a variant of the earlier words tortuse, tortose, and tortuce. The word tortoise may be related to the Latin for twisted (tortus). The Latin word testudo comes from testa (shell). You might use the word like so: After Tamara broke her leg, she felt like a tortoise: only able to inch along on her crutches at an excruciatingly slow pace. While his family was visiting the desert, Lucas came across a tortoise eating a piece of cactus. She opted for tortoiseshell glasses in honor of her favorite reptile: the tortoise. Don’t Get Mixed Up Again! Get Dictionary.com tips to keep words straight … right in your inbox. NameThis field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. document.addEventListener( “DOMContentLoaded”, function() { jQuery(document).bind(‘gform_post_render’, function(event, formId, currentPage){if(formId == 845841986) {if(typeof Placeholders != ‘undefined’){ Placeholders.enable(); }} } );jQuery(document).bind(‘gform_post_conditional_logic’, function(event, formId, fields, isInit){} ); }, false );document.addEventListener( “DOMContentLoaded”, function() { jQuery(document).ready(function(){jQuery(document).trigger(‘gform_post_render’, [845841986, 1]) } ); }, false ); How to tell the difference between a turtle and tortoise Although tortoises are a type of turtle and belong to the order Testudines, they have distinct differences from aquatic turtles who spend their time in the water. Firstly, terrestrial turtles or tortoises are land-dwellers that eat vegetation and typically live in hot, dry areas. There are also physical differences, according to the San Diego Zoo, and these make it much easier to tell them apart. In order to accommodate their time in the water, turtles have webbed feet. Some turtles have flippers and spend their entire lives swimming while others hang out on the shore, rocks, or beaches on occasion and burrow in the mud when they get cold. Instead of webbed feet, tortoises have round feet that look like stumps and help them walk on land. They live in dry and hot habitats, and some even eat cactus. To avoid the sun, some dig burrows and head underground. Most tortoises have shells that are higher with more of a domed shape. If youre still wondering about Testudo, a terrapin is a type of turtle that is of the family Emydidae, inhabiting fresh or brackish waters, especially the diamondback terrapin. So dont be a slow-poke on showing your love for our shelled friends , and be quick to celebrate them on World Turtle Day on May 23. var crb_dynamic_links = crb_dynamic_links || []; crb_dynamic_links.push( {“terms”:[{“term”:”OOP”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/oop\/”},{“term”:”BRI”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/bri\/”},{“term”:”der”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/der\/”},{“term”:”fav”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/fav\/”},{“term”:”foo”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/tech-science\/foo\/”},{“term”:”HMD”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/hmd\/”},{“term”:”RNS”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/rns\/”},{“term”:”que”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/translations\/que\/”},{“term”:”POS”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/pos\/”},{“term”:”AR”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/ar\/”},{“term”:”PO”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/po\/”},{“term”:”OP”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/op\/”},{“term”:”nd”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/nd\/”},{“term”:”OG”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/og\/”},{“term”:”OC”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/oc\/”},{“term”:”IG”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/ig\/”},{“term”:”IB”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/ib\/”},{“term”:”TY”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/ty\/”},{“term”:”B”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/b\/”}],”selector”:”.single-post .article .article__entry”}); Another wild pair who struggle with mistaken identity is the alpaca and llama. Can you tell the difference?

Many people use the terms turtle and tortoise interchangeably, and its an honest mistake to make. There are indeed clear differences between the two animals, and once youve become aware of them, its difficult to un-see them.

Average length (adult): depends on species; ranges from 4 to 60 inches Average weight (adult): 5 ounces-550 pounds Lifespan: 80-200+ years Exercise: 1+ hours a day Grooming needs: Minimal Family-friendly: Yes Other pet-friendly: Often Trainability: Yes but takes time and effort Image Credit: Chikilino, Pixabay Turtles may seem like one of the easiest pets to own, and they can certainly be low maintenance.

Many turtles will withdraw into their shells at the first sign of trouble, but others will take a more spirited stance, choosing instead to fight back in whatever way they can (usually by biting). However, you wont be able to change them too much, so its worth trying to find one thats not overly aggressive before bringing it home. You may also want to throw a few salamanders or de-clawed crayfish into your turtles water, or you can just give them bits of cooked meat.

Box turtles especially enjoy aquatic food, and they tend to eat more meat later in life than other species. Image Credit: Pexels, PixabayAs for plants, turtles enjoy apples, leafy green vegetables, dandelion leaves, and tomatoes. Turtles arent the neatest eaters, so you may have to clean up some disgusting messes (and thats only taking into account what theyve eaten not what comes out the other end).

This involves both installing a filter as well as changing it regularly, and youll also need to make sure any plants or decorations are mold-free. This means giving them a tank big enough that they can swim around freely, and plenty of things to climb on when they feel like it. Turtles can fit in with any type of household, but theyre especially good for those who want a pet without also taking on tons of responsibility.

They can be good starter pets for kids, but youll still need to supervise them closely, as turtles need plenty of care that very young ones may not be capable of providing. Image Credit: Hans, PixabayOwning a tortoise is much like owning a turtle, but it tends to be much easier, since you wont have to deal with the challenges of maintaining a water-filled aquarium. Theyre also as prone to hiding from danger, so the personality that you encounter will depend in large part on the environment that you create.

Youll want to give them leafy green vegetables, such as kale or baby leaf mixtures. Image Credit: Capri23auto, PixabayYou may also want to provide succulents like prickly pear cactus. If youre going to feed your tortoise meat, you can give them earthworms, cooked chicken, fish, or even high-protein dog food.

One of the most important things to understand about tortoises is that theyre cold-blooded, so theyll need help regulating their body temperature. Smaller tortoises are perfect for apartment dwellers, whereas larger species can make fantastic outdoor pets. One thing to keep in mind regardless of which one you adopt, though, is the fact that both of these animals have incredibly long lifespans.

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand.

Tortoises and turtles are both reptiles from the order of Testudines, but in different classification families. The major difference between the two is that tortoises dwell on land, while turtles live in the water some or nearly all of the time.

The carapace and the plastron are attached by a bridge, which means that though the head and limbs of a turtle or tortoise may be withdrawn from the shell, the whole body can never be totally detached from it. Tortoise versus Turtle comparison chartTortoiseTurtleDefinitionA Tortoise is a reptile from the Chelonian family and dwells well on land.A Turtle is a reptile from the Chelonian family and dwells well in the water.DistributionFound mostly in Asia and Africa but some species exist in Americas too.Africa, America.Shape of the shellMostly large dome shaped shells (with bumps on the top in some species).Mostly flat, streamlined shells.Weight of the shellThe shells are heavier.Generally light-weight shell.LimbsFeet are short and sturdy with bent legs.Webbed feet with long claws.DietMost are herbivores, but some species prefer live food.Eats fruits, veggies, leafy vegetation and meat, hence they are omnivores.BirthTortoise hatchlings move from their nest to the mothers burrow soon after birth.Turtle hatchlings stay in their nest on their own for 90-120 days.Lifespan80-150 years.

The future hatchlings will stay inside the egg for 90 to 120 days, incubating on their own. A turtle has a flat, streamlined shell and limbs that are quite similar to a tortoise‘s, but the turtle‘s feet are webbed and have long claws which provide a good grip upon floating logs and help the reptile climb onto riverbanks. As turtles generally prefer to live in water, the shell of a turtle is flat and streamlined to aid in swimming and diving, while the shell of a tortoise, which lives on land, is rather large and dome-shaped to provide protection from predators.

While it is sometimes reported that tortoises have lived for over 200 years in captivity, confirming the validity of these claims has been difficult. Turtles are primarily found in tropical and semi-tropical climates, similar to those preferred by most lizards , as they require warmer external temperatures to maintain proper body warmth. Tortoises are not known for hibernating, as their habitats are almost entirely warm, though some species can greatly limit their metabolism during periods of little or no food and water.

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Differences in Habitat

Turtles live some or most of the time in the water, while tortoises live on land. Both turtles and tortoises lay eggs on the ground. The mother will dig a burrow and lay two to twelve eggs there. The future hatchlings will stay inside the egg for 90 to 120 days, incubating on their own. Once the incubation process is complete, they dig their way to the surface. Tortoise mothers provide protection to the hatchlings for about 80 days, after which they survive on their own, but turtle hatchlings are on their own from birth.

Differences in Physical Characteristics

A tortoise has a dome-shaped shell and short and sturdy feet. Its legs are bent instead of being straight and directly under the body. A turtle has a flat, streamlined shell and limbs that are quite similar to a tortoise‘s, but the turtle‘s feet are webbed and have long claws which provide a good grip upon floating logs and help the reptile climb onto riverbanks. Some turtles might even have flippers, as is the case for the pig-nosed turtle.

Tortoise vs. Turtle Shell

The shells that cover the body of these reptiles are very important as they give researchers a fair idea of how these reptiles live. As turtles generally prefer to live in water, the shell of a turtle is flat and streamlined to aid in swimming and diving, while the shell of a tortoise, which lives on land, is rather large and dome-shaped to provide protection from predators. Also, the shell of a tortoise is quite heavy when compared to a turtle‘s shell, which is lighter to avoid sinking and to increase swimming speed.

Differences in Diet

Most land-based tortoises are herbivores while turtles can be both herbivores and carnivores. This is a video of a turtle eating a pigeon.

Reproduction of Turtles vs. Tortoises

The eggs from a turtle are somewhat soft and leather-like, similar to the eggs produced by other reptiles. Turtle hatchlings stay in their nest on their own for 90-120 days.Female tortoises dig burrows in which they lay anywhere from 2 to 12 eggs. Hatchlings take approximately 90-120 days to incubate within the ping-pong-ball sized eggs.

Difference in Lifespan

Tortoises can live about as long as humans, around 60-80 years, but some have been known to live for over 150 years. The longest verified tortoise life span was 188 years.In contrast, the common lifespan of a turtle is about 20-40 years, while sea turtles average 60 to 70 years, with about 40 to 50 years of that required to reach maturity.While it is sometimes reported that tortoises have lived for over 200 years in captivity, confirming the validity of these claims has been difficult. Most tortoises can live over 100 years in captivity, but living beyond that age requires carefully controlled, nurturing environments.

As Pets

Both are kept as pets, though small turtles are more commonly owned. Tortoises are actually easier to care for, but more expensive to own. Both require owners who are willing and able to keep a very long commitment. As such, neither is recommended as a pet in many cases.

Geographical Distribution

Tortoises are found mostly in Asia and Africa, while turtles are found in Africa and America. Turtles are primarily found in tropical and semi-tropical climates, similar to those preferred by most lizards, as they require warmer external temperatures to maintain proper body warmth. However, some turtles are known for hibernating during colder weather, usually alongside riverbanks. Tortoises are not known for hibernating, as their habitats are almost entirely warm, though some species can greatly limit their metabolism during periods of little or no food and water.

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