Turtles and tortoises are some of the most long-lived members of the reptile family. Even small species that are typically kept as pets, like box turtles and terrapins, live between 30 and 40 years if they’re kept healthy. Larger species such as sea turtles are estimated to live about 80 years. The giant tortoise, the largest of all land turtles, typically lives at least a century. Some have even been known to live for more than 200 years!
Another explanation is that the long lives of turtles and tortoises gives them an evolutionary advantage that aids in effective reproduction. Turtles also have natural protection from predators in their tough shells and thick, armored skin, which, unlike animals that tend to be prey, gives them the luxury of being able to take their time reproducing.
The longest-lived of all the turtle species, the Galapagos giant tortoise, eats a strict vegetarian diet that’s full of greens and free of fat and cholesterol.
Can turtles live up to 500 years?
According to the Turtle Conservation Society, most turtle species live from 10 to 80 years. But sea turtles and large land tortoises can live to be much older. Their lifespan can be 150 years or more. … Some have estimated, however, that large turtles may be able to live 400 to 500 years !
Can turtles live for 200 years?
Larger species such as sea turtles are estimated to live about 80 years. The giant tortoise, the largest of all land turtles, typically lives at least a century. Some have even been known to live for more than 200 years!
Do turtles live longer than humans?
Sea turtles can live 50 to 100 years, and box turtles can live more than a century, he told Live Science. In fact, scientists don’t know the upper limit on many turtle species’ life spans, simply because individual humans don’t live long enough themselves to find out.
When it comes to how long turtles live, the answers can be elusive. However, as potential pet owners should know, most species are generally able to live for decades and could potentially serve as a near-lifelong family member. After all, for many species, scientists and researchers are unable to pin down an exact lifespan.
Several decades ago, however, that long lifespan expectation for pet turtles wasnt necessarily the case. In Mitchells estimation, many turtles back then likely lived just 4 to 6 years in captivity due to improper care.
A poor diet along with improper lighting never allowed them to live well and grow to their full capacity. One element that seems to play a large role, however, is turtles relatively slow metabolism, which helps them process things like diseases and aging at a different rate from birds or other domestic pets. Treats can be things like earthworms, small fish, shrimp, or other aquatic invertebrates.
The long lives of turtles are often proclaimed as fact, but reliable evidence is lacking for many of the claims. In some cases of exceptional longevity, written records reveal that the individual has mysteriously changed sex or species from beginning to end, hinting at a surreptitious replacement. Even so, if an individual survives to adulthood, it will likely have a life span of two to three decades. In the wild, American box turtles (Terrapene carolina) regularly live more than 30 years. Obviously, sea turtles requiring 40 to 50 years to mature will have life spans reaching at least 60 to 70 years. The giant tortoises of the Galapagos Islands and Aldabra (Geochelone elephantopus and G. gigantea, respectively) have lived more than 60 years in zoos. On occasion it has been reported that individuals of a few tortoise species have lived in captivity for 100 to 250 years. In many of these cases, the reported sex of the supposedly long-lived tortoise, or the species, or even both, have mysteriously changed during captivity, making it difficult to accept the reliability of such reports. 100 years is not the maximum for a few species, especially sea turtles and giant tortoises, but, in order to surpass this age, an extremely nurturing protective environment would be required. For example, Jonathan (a giant tortoise residing on St. Helena) is the worlds oldest known terrestrial animal; he was hatched in the early 1830s and likely owes his longevity to having been cared for by humans since the 1880s.
There is no hard and fast answer for why turtles and tortoises live so long. There are, however, a few theories, including the slow rate of their metabolisms, naturally healthy lifestyles and evolutionary theories regarding reproduction. Of course, the longevity of a turtle’s life depends on surviving predators, pollution and other environmental risks. New hatchlings are especially vulnerable to predators until their shells harden. As for domestic turtles, whether they live out the full extent of their natural lifespan depends largely on the type of care they receive.
One reason turtles are believed to have such long lifespans is their slowness. Turtles continue to grow very slowly throughout their lives. This prevents them from aging in the same way birds and mammals do. Thanks to their slow metabolisms, they can survive long periods without food or water, which also gives them a greater chance of survival in harsh conditions.
Another explanation is that the long lives of turtles and tortoises gives them an evolutionary advantage that aids in effective reproduction. Wild turtles tend to live in harsh environments that aren’t always conducive to breeding. Their long lifespans provide them with more opportunities to procreate. Turtles also have natural protection from predators in their tough shells and thick, armored skin, which, unlike animals that tend to be prey, gives them the luxury of being able to take their time reproducing.
Other Turtle Species With Long Lifespans
Other species of wild turtles and tortoises have even longer lifespans than pet turtles. Some tortoises can reach or surpass 100 years in terms of their longevity, with sea tortoises approaching similar numbers. Dr. Mitchell has worked with sea turtles in the past, and he points out that estimating how long sea turtles live is as good an estimation as that of pet turtles’ lifespans. True estimates are hypothetical at best.“Theoretically, sea turtles may be able to top the century mark,” he says. “But without good data, it’s hard to tell.”
Why Do Turtles Live So Long?
Why turtles live so long also tends to be somewhat of a mystery. One element that seems to play a large role, however, is turtles’ relatively slow metabolism, which helps them process things like diseases and aging at a different rate from birds or other domestic pets. It also helps them live for extended periods without food or water.In turn, turtles are able to enter states of brumation and aestivation, hibernation-like states during hot and cold temperature extremes. During those times, water turtles can live underwater for months without access to oxygen, which some researchers believe plays a key role in how turtles’ bodies are able to process the stress of a decades-long lifespan.“Everything’s a bit slower for them,” Mitchell says. “They can undergo anaerobic metabolism, which allows them to process things at a different rate.”One 2013 study published in the scientific journal Genome Biology, decoded the genome of a western painted turtle, finding some 19 genes in the brain and 23 in the heart that are activated in low-oxygen conditions. Together, those genes work to protect turtles’ organs from oxygen deprivation, and could, as the study posits, potentially provide an increase in how long turtles live.