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Galápagos Tortoise

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Galápagos Tortoise, Galapagos

Overview

The Galapagos Tortoise is a colossal terrestrial reptile, the largest in the world and can weigh up to 919 lbs and can live well over 100 years. This species is believed to have come from the mainland, as they are buoyant and can live for months at a time without food or water. The Galapagos tortoise is a herbivore, feeding on cacti, grasses, leaves, lichens, berries, melons, oranges, and milkweed. Within the archipelago, up to 15 species of Galápagos tortoises have been identified. Unfortunately, only 11 survive today. This species has captivated the minds of scientists and explorers, including the famous evolutionary scientists Charles Darwin and Galapagos founder Fray Tomás de Berlanga, Bishop of Panama


Fun Fact

Juvenile tortoises typically eat 16.7% of their own body weight in plant matter every day, and have the effenciency of herbivorous mammals such as horses and rhinos *The Galapagos tortoise shares a mutualistic relationship with Galapagos finches, where the bird will hop extitedly in front of the tortoise until the tortoise extends its legs to allow for the finch to remove parasites such as tics. *Female Galapagos tortoises dig nests, an exaustive task taking the female several hours per day over many days. Additionally, they do it blinding using their back legs.