How Amazing is the Tortoise?
Tortoises are amazing creatures that have walked the earth for over 55 Million years. They have survived the extinction of the dinosaurs and they have extremely long life spans. They are also incredibly resilient, able to survive in harsh conditions!
When we think of the world’s oldest animals, one of the first that comes to mind is the amazing tortoise. These animals are remarkable and astonishingly have walked the Earth for over 55 MILLION years (55,000,000)! By comparison, humans have only existed for 200,000 years. But, HOW have tortoises survived for so long? What is their secret?
Slow and steady…
The tortoise’s long history has seen them survive through various major events including the BIG extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs. This resilience is due, in part, to their slow metabolism, their strong shell, and their ability to adapt to numerous environments. From the dry deserts of Africa where nothing much grows, to South America’s tropical rainforests, tortoises have the ability to survive without food for long periods of time. It’s really quite amazing!
DID YOU KNOW?: Tortoise can also be found in Madagascar, North America, Pacific Islands and South East Asia!!!
JUST LIKE US! The shell of a tortoise contains keratin… the same material your fingernails and hair are made from!
FUN FACT: Tortoises have a slow metabolism which means they take a really l o n g time to eat and digest their food allowing them to go for longer without food! A slow metabolism burns less energy. This means more calories can be stored!
Can you imagine?
Not only have tortoises existed for a long time as a species as a whole, but individual tortoises can also have impressively long lifespans. It’s not uncommon for them to live between 80 and 150 years old! This is far longer than the average lifespan of most animals, including humans. The average lifespan of a human in the UK is 79 – 84 years old. Can you imagine living to 150?! Our very own tortoise, Tiddles, is thought to be 30 – 35 years old – a tiny baby really compared to how long he could live for.
WOW! In 2022 Jonathan the tortoise celebrated his 190th Birthday. Jonathan is thought to have been born roughly around 1832! He is a subspecies of the Aldabra Giant tortoise and lives in St Helena!
Protect, not threat!
However, even tortoises can not survive absolutely everything. The loss of their habitats, the illegal wildlife trade, and climate change are just a few of the challenges that tortoises face. It’s crucial that we as humans work together to conserve these remarkable animals and the habitats they call home.
Hooray for the tortoise!
In conclusion, the tortoise’s long history and impressive lifespan are a testament to their resilience and adaptability – a living reminder of our prehistoric past. So the next time you see a tortoise, take a moment to appreciate its remarkable journey through time. Here at Animal Club, we love the tortoise, they should definitely be celebrated in all their greatness!
Hip hip hooray!
WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP?
Recycle, reduce your waste, repair items instead of always buying new, use reusable bags and say no to plastic bags! Fighting climate change can indirectly help protect the tortoise.
Help a charity: Well known charities such as the WWF help tortoises!
Animal-Club provides animal parties or animal handling workshops. You will be able to see, learn and interact with many wonderful animals with the help of our presenters. Our mobile zoo has many friendly animals such as rabbits, tarantulas, geckos, vinegaroons and more, perfect for an animal party. We can also , come over to your school for an animal school visit or arrange for an animal workshop with us where the children can learn about looking after animals and animal behaviour, and have fun too.