From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Turtles (Rated C-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon Tortoise is part of WikiProject Turtles, an attempt at creating a standardized, informative, comprehensive and easy-to-use turtle resource. If you would like to participate, you can choose to edit this article, or visit the project page for more information.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Amphibians and Reptiles (Rated C-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon Tortoise is part of WikiProject Amphibians and Reptiles, an attempt at creating a standardized, informative, comprehensive and easy-to-use amphibians and reptiles resource. If you would like to participate, you can choose to edit this article, or visit the project page for more information.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.

Hanako Koi, Oldest vertebrate?[edit]

The page cited to corroborate that the Oldest living vertebrate is a Koi called Hanako seems pretty iffy. It would seem that more rigorous citation is needed.

"All land tortoises are herbivorous."

Hang on, my land tortoise eats slugs. This site [1] has a diet for tortoises which includes "< 5% High-Protein Content Foods. Dry maintenance dog food, primate chow, pelleted parrot chows, tofu, various cereals (crisped rice, corn flakes, grape nuts, bran flakes, etc), sardines with bones, whole mice, baby mice, large carnivore diets, and scrambled or hard boiled eggs (with shells). Increase to 10% for hinged-back, angulate, brown and impressed tortoises."

Can someone who knows their tortoises please clarify. Fabiform 05:55, 25 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Reptiles often eat differently in captivity than in the wild.--Piper Stone 08:21, 18 Apr 2004 (UTC)

The article I just translated from German on the Marginated Tortoise indicates that young tortoises take a small amount of animal protein. By the way, it would be good if some biology-minded individual looked through that article, to make sure I got all the jargon terms correct. Thanks. Mpolo 07:07, Oct 26, 2004 (UTC) << This offers another source on the age of the Hanako Koi. It would seem to have a high credibility being written by the owner of the fish (it's a translation but nevertheless). Wuku (talk) 00:54, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

Images ??[edit]

Look, I like tortoises, too, and it's sad they're endangered, but do we really need nine images on this article? Makes it awfully slow to load for those of us still 56K. . . . . . Soundguy99 19:46, 15 May 2005 (UTC)

I've rearranged the pics in gallery format so that might make it quicker to load. However I don't think there are too many pics in this article because the trend now (certainly in the UK where I live) is for broadband to become the norm. Then we'll regret restricting the number of pics in an article (this is easy for me to say because I've got broadband!) - Adrian Pingstone 09:09, 16 May 2005 (UTC)
I'll agree there are far too many pictures here. Predicted UK averages or not, these images don't add anything to the article beyond decoration. One or two of these should be more than enough. I'll let someone else decide which to keep. CastorQuinn 09:45, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Since this has been flagged since May and it doesn't seem to be contentious or attracting a great amount of debate, I've gone with the majority (2 to 1) and reduced the gallery by half.
I've removed the testudo marginata, testudo hermanni boettgeri and the testudo graeca ibera solo shots, since all three of those tortoises appear in the group shot with the testudo hermanni hermanni, and so it seemed uneccesary to have this additional three overlapping pictures - they add nothing that that one group shot doesn't. I also removed one of the two Aldabra Giant Tortoise photos, since again one is enough.
I'm happy to add any of these photos back if anyone feels there is any reason to. Eight photos in the gallery of a 600-word article, when most of these photos properly belong with the specific articles on the individual species they depict, seemed excessive.
The removed images (should someone wanrt to add them back in) are:
CastorQuinn 04:14, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Heres another picture should anyone want to use on the page.

And Heres one of a Sea Turtle to be added to the gallery —Preceding unsigned comment added by Algy3289 (talkcontribs) 16:35, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

The image in the upper right-hand corner of the tortoise page is mislabeled. That is an Aldabra not a Galap... HLogicNet (talk) 03:17, 7 August 2011 (UTC) This now has been corrected. HLogicNet (talk) 10:11, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

Shielded by a magic shell?[edit]

Er, this sounds pretty stupid. Maybe someone should replace the word "magic" with something more accurate and scientific sounding.

Turtles and tortoises in popular culture[edit]

I created a new page where people can keep adding pop culture content, so that this page can focus on the biology. We have done the same at Frog, creating Frogs in popular culture. Hope everyone agrees that this is a good idea. Best, Samsara contrib talk 12:25, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Proper Spelling of Robert Clive's tortoise ?[edit]

According to Reuters 1, Robert Clive's tortoise's name is spelled "Addwaitya;" according to the BBC [2], it's spelled Adwaitya. Can anyone confirm the proper spelling of the tortoise's name.

--Jvsett 17:46, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Are you going to edit the bit about Tui Malila in light of the information about Robert Clive's tortoise?

EvaXephon 02:16, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

Needs a pretty big clean-up[edit]

The first part of the page before the contents needs to be cleaned and cleared up. First it says that Tui Malila is the oldest ever at 188 or 192. Then it says that another tortoise, Adwaitya, "was thought to be over 250". I know the former may be considered the oldest because the latter hasn't been scientificly tested or something, but it should be re-written to sound clearer.

Clarification on oldest Tortoise[edit]

It seems entirely contradictory to include both Tui Malila and Adwaitya as the oldest living Cheloniinae. However, claims that Adwaitya is now the oldest living Cheloniinae are entirely unverified having only just been mentioned in the press. If Adwaitya was indeed over 250 years old why wasn't he verified as the oldest 60 years ago when he would have been older than Tui Malila?

An example of a vauge reference in the press states:

"We have documents to prove that he was more than 150 years old, but we have pieced together other evidence, like statements from authentic sources and it seems he is more than 250 years old."

As of now Tui Malila is verified as the oldest living Cheloniinae by the Guiness Book Of Records and until this officially changes Tui Malila should remain the oldest. I will edit this accordingly. Kingofspades 10:49, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

That is exactly what I was getting at. Good work. DarkSideOfTheSpoon 00:19, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. Its mad how some people jump straight in changing things without actually bothering to check if there true! Kingofspades 13:22, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
Dear Kingofspades - I disagree with you. According to a verifiable source, Adwaitya was the oldest turtle. This may or may not be true; in any event there appears to be significant disagreement about this fact. If you do not believe Reuters is a verifiable and reliable source, please feel to disregard this. However, as Wikipedia says on its own comments about Verifiability, not truth:
"Verifiability" in this context does not mean that editors are expected to verify whether, for example, the contents of a New York Times article are true. In fact, editors are strongly discouraged from conducting this kind of research, because original research may not be published in Wikipedia. Articles should contain only material that has been published by reliable sources, regardless of whether individual editors view that material as true or false. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, the threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth."
Based on the above threshold, a comment about Addwaitya as the oldest Tortoise is not only appropriate but to criticize others for adding it was simply wrong. --Jvsett 18:30, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
* First off this article is concerned with tortoises NOT turtles. Secondly as the article states - they have not presened scientific evidence to back up their claim. Whether its true or not, unitil this has been verified Addwaitya is not the oldest tortoise. I see absurd newspaper articles about all sorts of ridiculous things from alien abductions to reports of giant hamsters, each of which has been reported in respected newspapers, this doesn't however make them true. Kingofspades 13:08, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
It is interesting because I have seen articles about Addwaitya that claim he was the oldest and ones that say it cannot be determined. Who is to say which articles we believe and use? I think merely saying that "there is debate as to whether it was in actual fact the oldest living..." etc is sufficent. DarkSideOfTheSpoon 04:52, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
But no "news"paper is a reliable source... Who does the original reseach into what is reliable...? ;) Looks like Wikipedia has created it's own logic error... --Kurtle (talk) 12:15, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Partial Species List[edit]

I did a clean up on this a little while ago, to make it more consistent, and more readable. I used an conservation status template that has since been obsoleted. I've had a look at the new conservation status markup and I don't understand it well enough to apply it. I'm going to hunt around for an article which employs it, so I can use it as a model. If anyone knows of any good examples, let me know. In the interim, it would be great if anyone who knows it could markup the partial species list here for the new scheme.

I have not verified any of the status attributions; in my tidy up all I did was format and clean, not verify.

It's also unclear from the page why this is only a partial list, what the criteria are for inclusion in the list, and what would be required for this to be designated a full species list. CastorQuinn 03:52, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

tortoises are shielded from predators by a shell (however tortoises, unlike animals without shells, have a shell).[edit]

that sounds strange... i'm assuming this is some sort of vandalism. 14:17, 24 February 2007 (UTC) fix 14:18, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Tortoises and Box Turtles[edit]

Turtle names in different languages.jpg

According to this graphic accessed from the page about terrapins, "box turtle" is the US word for a tortoise. Should the two pages be merged? Wavehunter 21:08, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

The graphic is a bit oversimplified. 'Tortoise' has a specific scientific meaning- a member of the Family Testudinidea, and American Box Turtles are the Family Emydidea, Genus Terrepena. The US may call a Box Turtle a 'tortoise' (although Europeans are more likely to call them "Box Tortoises", we do not use the terms 'Box Turtle' and 'Tortoise' interchangeably. Madkins007 (talk) 05:07, 22 August 2010 (UTC)Madkins007

I agree with Madkins007. The term 'turtle' is more likely to be used as a blanket and individual reference to Chelonids, turtle, terrapin or tortoise, in the USA. I have not heard the term 'Box Tortoise' used in American English. In reference to Terrepene sp. (box turtle), 'terrapin' or 'tarpin' are frequently used in the rural (Eastern) USA - and 'Box Turtle' would never be used to refer to a Tortoise. As a side note, the term 'Marine Turtles' is more commonly used and more accurate than is 'Oceanic Turtles' as shown in the graphic. HLogicNet (talk) 12:10, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

Turtles and tortoises in popular culture[edit]

Think that you should add a link to Turtles and tortoises in popular culture: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:02, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Removing section about carrier bags[edit]

Im going to remove the following as it doesnt really make sense. Tried to find a source for it but no joy. If anyone can find a source please put it back in because i'd like it to be true but suspect it isnt

Use in carrier bag production

Tortoise droppings have recently been used by EcoWorld Ltd in the development of ecologically friendly carrier bags; the chemical makeup of Tortoise feces shares the 1-4 hydrogen bond which is critical to the strength and durability of plastic, and by super heating it is possible to create a strong carrier which leaves virtually no carbon footprint, and will decompose within two months of being buried..[citation needed] —Preceding unsigned comment added by Timmywimmy (talkcontribs) 20:08, 13 April 2008 (UTC)


Do land tortoises swim at all? How long can they swim for? If one puts them in a bucket of water what will happen? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:14, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

They drown!!!!!!
At least some species of tortoise can swim. Vinke and Vetter's book "South American Tortoises" shows photos of swimming Red-foot Tortoises (Chelonoidis carbonaria). It probably depends on ratio of lung volume to weight as a species.Madkins007 (talk) 05:03, 22 August 2010 (UTC)Madkins007

Oldest Animal?[edit]

Not Tortoises I'm afraid... Not even close. Deep sea invertebrates in marginal environments are waaay older (multi-centennial) (talk) 22:19, 22 March 2009 (UTC) Atre

They are suspected to be the terrestrial animal with the longest lifespan. HLogicNet (talk) 12:12, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

Meat from Tortoise preferable to turtle (aquatic)[edit]

My wife is from Vietnam and says that tortoise meat there is more expensive "and tastes better" than the meat from aquatic turtles. Not sure if this is true and don't think that I can cite wife to change the article :-) so I am wondering if anyone else knows anything about this and can provide references to add this tidbit to the article. Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:04, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

New book on tortoise conservation[edit]

Book Information The Last Tortoise: A tale of extinction in our lifetime, by Craig B. Stanford. Published by Harvard University Press. Craig Stanford, professor of biology and anthropology at the University of Southern California, recognizes 45 species of living tortoises. Wloveral (talk) 13:49, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Information needed[edit]

There is nothing in the article about the evolution of tortoises. I would also be fascinated to learn how a tortoise shell grows as the animal ages. Africaneye (talk) 10:15, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

The shell grows just like our bones - it's continuously eaten away & re-deposited by the body, getting bigger as the animal does. As for their evolution, do you mean the evolution of tortoises from turtles, or turtles from a non-turtle ancestor? The latter is covered on the turtle page, or at least what little is known to science is covered. Mokele (talk) 12:30, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Edits to this article[edit]

I have begun editing this article starting with the taxonomy, I will bring it into line with the Chelonian Research Institutes 2009 Checklist for turtles as this is probably the best resource available. It is used by the IUCN and most Turtle biologists. Any comments please contact me.Faendalimas (talk) 13:15, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

I'm going to start updating this at some point. It's a major task because not just this article but many tortoise articles are affected. I also imagine that the new taxonomy wants to be appropriately referenced so it could take some time. I'm planning on using the 2010 list. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 01:03, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
Have updated Aldabrachelys recognising the nomenclature of 2010 list, however although Aldabrachelys abrupta and Aldabrachelys grandidieri are considered synonyms of A. gigantea by many am leaving this for the moment. I am using Aldabrachelys gigantea over Dipsochelys dussumieri Gray, 1831 as per Case 3463 currently under discussion at the ICZN. Will continue as quickly as I can. I have made a note that it is a work in progress and left your outdated tags in for the moment. Faendalimas (talk) 19:41, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
Taxonomy for this article up to date now, however many species pages need to be updated. I have done enough to make them llink to date. Faendalimas (talk) 06:34, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Have marked it out of date due to subfamily issues see discussion below! Regards, SunCreator (talk) 22:32, 21 April 2012 (UTC)


So which species are commonly used as pets? no section on care as pets?

this all seems like a massive hole. I am no tortoise pet keeper so I won't try and start a section. Wuku (talk) 00:46, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

Subfamily Testudininae and Xerobatinae[edit]

I've marked this taxonomy section as out of date and the infobox subgroups as dubious as available references conflict. Relevant references

IUCN turtle taxonomy working group checklist 2011 and all previous years does not mention Testudininae at all, but does give other subfamilies. Xerobatinae wouldn't be mentioned because they only deal with extant after 1500AD.

Testudininae is also absent from Fritz's checklist of 2007.

Zootaxa 2011 also by Fritz, page 42 mentions 'Testudininae in the following: "Epeisodion After McDowell’s (1964) pioneering osteological study revising the ‘aquatic Testudinidae’, Clemmys was restricted to the four Nearctic species Clemmys guttata , C. insculpta , C. marmorata and C. muhlenbergii, while the remaining Old World species were transferred to the genera Mauremys and Sacalia. McDowell (1964) discovered that most Old World and New World freshwater turtles represent highly distinct groups. Consequently, he placed all Old World species plus the extraterritorial Neotropical genus Rhinoclemmys in the subfamily Batagurinae and the New World species plus the Palaearctic genus Emys in the Emydinae. These two subfamilies constituted, along with land tortoises (Testudininae), the family Testudinidae in McDowell’s (1964) classification. This general scheme currently stands, although each of these groups is now treated as a full family and the name Geoemydidae replaced Bataguridae because of priority reasons (Fritz & Havaš 2007; Rhodin et al. 2010). McDowell (1964) real- ized the close relationship of the four Nearctic Clemmys species, of Terrapene and the Old World species Emys orbicularis, all of which were placed by him in the ‘ Emys complex’. Yet, McDowell (1964) did not include Emy- doidea blandingii in this group, but in the distinct ‘ Deirochelys complex’, together with Deirochelys reticularia. In doing so, McDowell followed Loveridge & Williams (1957), acknowledging that the morp hological similarity of skull, neck, and thoracic rib morphology of Deirochelys and Emydoidea reflects a close relationship."

My reading of the Zootaxa text is Testudininae is historic, as 'these groups is now treated as a full family' does not apply to Testudininae because it is not a family. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 22:27, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

The problem is that, according to the ICZN, once a governed taxon is named it can't be unnamed (and in fact, it explicitly states that even if a subfamily is not named, it is taken to have been created and named by the same author at the same time the family was named). So Testudininae certainly exists in the taxonomic system even if most current researchers don't use it. I'd recommend keeping it in the auto taxonomy template (containing only Testudo and or Testudinini for the same reason) but setting it not to display. MMartyniuk (talk) 13:24, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
Whenever a group is described all relevant groups are implicitly put in place also. That is for the Xerobatinae to exist so to must the Testudininae. As stated above they cannot be destroyed. What happens is that some papers decide not to use sub categories. This is fine and is usually dependant on the subject matter of the paper. The IUCN not dealing with fossil taxa leave those categories out, and hence also leave out the sub categories in the living taxa that are needed to place them. Here we are listing all the taxa, hence we must make the existing taxa make heirarchical sense. This is why I put them in. Cheers. Faendalimas talk 00:23, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

Box "tortoises"? Dubious claim of usage[edit]

In the part that discusses the usage of the word "tortoise", it is claimed that Americans refer to all land-dwelling chelonians as "tortoises" including "box tortoises". The link itself gives lie to the claim because the Wikipedia article it leads to is entitled box turtles which is consistent with American usage. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:50, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

box turtles is consistant by International usage. This is not an American Wikipedia. The article box turtle gives box tortoise as an alternative in the first sentence. still make the claim but perhaps they have split the previous page. Regards, Sun Creator(talk) 23:10, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

Taxonomy Section[edit]

I am thinking that the taxonomy section does not really need to list all the species. genera with references would be fine. The template at the bottom could be updated to include all the species. Seems a bit of duplication. Cheers Faendalimas talk 13:14, 14 June 2014 (UTC)


There is a fundamental problem with the presentation of this article. The definition in the lead section is presented as definitive and unique, but the section immediately following, "Use of the terms turtle, tortoise and terrapin", contradicts this idea. Then the remainder of the article proceeds to give a bunch of information about the animals, but without saying which definition it is using. (talk) 21:05, 28 June 2015 (UTC)

I'm not sure why the section Use of the terms turtle, tortoise and terrapin is even necessary in this article, as it makes clear that everybody uses tortoises for the land-dwelling species whether or not they call the broader category "turtles" or restrict the term "turtle". This is an issue for the Turtle article, not the tortoise article. The only exception noted is common Australian usage of "tortoise" for freshwater turtles which is stated to be considered incorrect. Dinoguy2 (talk) 20:15, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
It's not that simple. Even ignoring the Australian usage, two different definitions are given: all terrestrial "turtles", or only those that are members of "Testudinidae". The problem is exactly as I described. The article first says that tortoises are X. Then it says that they can be X, Y or Z, depending on the definition used. Then it gives a bunch of further information without explaining which of X, Y and/or Z is being assumed (or, if it doesn't matter, explaining that it doesn't matter). (talk) 02:52, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
I agree that this section really belongs on the Turtle page. Perhaps there should be a very brief section on the terms, and less prominent in the article.DrChrissy (talk) 11:06, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on Tortoise. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true or failed to let others know (documentation at {{Sourcecheck}}).

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 16:47, 2 April 2016 (UTC)

Brain section[edit]

In the Brain section there are several statements indicating tortoises can survive without a brain or after decapitation. This is nonsense. These statement should be removed or worded in a way which seriously underplays the robustness of this. DrChrissy (talk) 00:26, 15 April 2017 (UTC)

British English[edit]

Should not the section on terminology clarify that in British English, the word "turtle" is normally used solely to refer to a marine reptile? Vorbee (talk) 20:19, 24 August 2017 (UTC)