I choose this topic of tortoises because I have four of my own. I would like to learn more about them and maybe different types of things I could do to make their lives better. I have Desert Tortoises but I would also like to learn about many other types of tortoises and their shapes and sizes. I have four big tortoises and four baby tortoises. Sammy,Scooter,Grumpy,Red, and the four babies which are about five months old. A man at the Water District gave us are first tortoise Sammy. Soon coming that year we found Grumpy on the side of the highway with a big crack in his back.
We took him home fed him then took him to the veterinarian early the next morning. They patched him up and we got to take him home but we had to give him a shot every meal for about a month. That’s where he got his name he didn t like the shots much and would hide away in a corner after them. Scooter and Red are Desert Tortoises but a different kind. They are more oval shaped which gives us more of a variety. They seem to like fruit more. Sammy and Grumpy mated and Sammy laid her eggs in a deep burrow between two rocks. The eggs hatched somewhere in between seventy to one hundred and twenty days.
We found the first baby tortoise in the front yard and that’s when we knew we had to have a complete search of our backyard and the front for the first day before we blocked up even the tiniest of holes in the gates with wood. We searched the yards for about two weeks just in case of any of them were hiding. We found five total but one was already dead in the road. It was ran over by a car days earlier before we found the first tortoise. The other four are healthy and growing bigger everyday. We feed them in the afternoon when I get home from school or when my mom gets off work. They not only walk slow but they eat slow too.
I think it s a great experience to own Desert Tortoises and if you can I would get one for yourself. Tortoises are in the family of the Testudinidae. Tortoises live on land and are mostly vegetarian reptiles. A few forms of Omnivorous. In some places tortoises represent slowness, determination, and long life. There are about forty-one living species of tortoises. The majority of them live in Africa and Madagascar. Some ways you can tell the reptile is a tortoise are by their high dome like shells, heavy elephant-like hind legs in which their toes are very short and do not have any webbing, and hard scaled front legs.
The color of a tortoise is mostly shades of brown, olive, yellow and black, brown and black, mostly yellow, scutes plain or commonly patterned with bright rays or concentric rings. They have leathery to brittle shells depending on the tortoise. Some of the types of tortoises could be the species of the Giant Tortoises. They are now rare or extinct because man destroyed their habitats or because pigs, goats, or rats ate their babies. Some of the Giant Tortoise weights have been recorded as about one hundred eighty kilograms. Another species is the Gopher Tortoise. They have brown shells and are accomplished diggers.
This is because their front legs are much flatter and serve as digging scoops. These tortoises live in sandy and wooded regions of the Southern United States. The Desert Tortoise lives in desert and open wooded areas around the South Western United States and Mexico. Berlandiers Tortoise is near deserts and wooded areas of Texas and parts of Northern Mexico. There is also a recent discovery of a tortoise called the Bophenus Flauomorginatum. It has only been located in a small area in North Central Mexico. A tortoises shell has fifty-nine to sixty-one bones in it.
It has two parts a carapace and a plastron witch covers it s belly. So successful was the shell that it became a cornerstone of tortoise architecture. Because of the shell they can not run, jump, or fly. Tortoise shells typically are high-vaulted shells as protection from their predators crushing jaws. One type of tortoise that does not have a high shell but a extremely flattened one is the African Pancake. This allows that tortoise to squeeze into small cracks in between rocks where they have their habitat. When a tortoise has become wedged in between something they become extremely hard to pull out.
Another part of a shell could be a hinged plastron. Madagascar and Egyptian Tortoises have developed one or two plastral hinges and the African Hinge-backed Tortoises have a hinge on the carapace rather than on their plastron. Hinges give tortoises the ability to tightly close their shell with all their parts with in. This provides protection from loss of moisture. Most tortoises attain a maximum size of at least five inches in shell length. The Speckled Cape Tortoise have a maximum shell length of less than four point seven inches. They are among the worlds smallest tortoises.
One of the worlds largest tortoises is the Aldabra Giant Tortoise at fifty-five inches and five hundred and fifty-nine pounds. Certainly most tortoises, with their ability to move held back by their big shells are slow. The Desert Tortoise moves at speeds of zero point thirteen to zero point three miles per hour. The Galapagos Giant Tortoise was clocked at four miles per day. When tortoises mate it typically consists of some head bobbing, the male butting and biting the female to immobilize her, and finally mounting her shell from the rear. The female tortoise then buries her eggs under ground.
My Desert Tortoise buried her eggs in her home which was a under ground burrow. Once the eggs are hatched lots of reptiles leave their kids to fend for themselves but the Burmese Brown Tortoise which lays her eggs in a mound of leaf liter, will defend her eggs from predation for several days after she has laid them. Tortoises eggs are elongated to spherical shape, one to two point five inches is the greatest diameter. Egg size seems to increase with body size but there are some exceptions. The Galapagos Giant Tortoise lay the largest spherical eggs, with diameters of two to two point four inches.
Incubation typically requires about two months. Incubation time also depend on the temperature. Temperature can determine the speed but it can also determine the sex of some species of tortoises. Tortoises usually feed on vegetation like roses, clover, spinach, and dandelion or on more sedentary animals like worms, snails or insect larvae. Because of their speed they can t catch fast moving prey. Also fruit off a tree can attract large numbers of tortoises. Some of these fruits could include apricots, avocados, bananas, berries, oranges, peaches and pears.
Tortoises like to eat vegetables, some of those could be cabbage, carrots, corn, peas, green beans, squash, and zucchini. There are also poisonous things you can feed your tortoise. Don t feed them plants like aloe, ivy, daffodil, foxglove, gardenia, holly, juniper, mistle toe, marigold, mushrooms, rhododendron, and sweet pea. From my own experience tortoises like to eat broccoli, apples, hibiscus flowers, grapes, tomatoes with out the seeds, water melon and their favorite lettuce, which is a good source for water. Tortoises have one or two serrated ridges on their jaws witch are used for cutting and crushing stems and fruits.
If a tortoise happened to eat a poison plant above some of signs of illness would be runny or bubbly nose, loss of appetite, and gasping. If a tortoise has these symptoms you should contact a veterinarian. Around the month of October tortoises will appear sluggish, stay outside less, and they will eat less. This is the time that tortoises go into hibernation. Tortoises like to hibernate in burrows usually ten to eighteen feet deep. Tortoises will often eat a lot before hibernation and they will store the extra fat on their legs. Around March or April the tortoises will come out of hibernation. You should give them a warm bath.
They will often drink a lot of water, this is normal. Within the next few weeks they will return to their normal activities of eating, exercising, and sunbathing. It is said that tortoises don t defend their territories but a tortoise called the Galapagos Giant Tortoise establishes dominance based on the height to witch each animal can stick out its head. Populations of many tortoises are declining today. Over exploitation and habitat destruction are the two main causes. Tortoises, because of their accessibility and large size have been utilized heavily as a protein resource on the island countries.
People have also been killing off tortoises by providing luxury items such as tortoise shell jewelry and as pets. Tortoises slowness make them susceptible to human predetation at all times. I enjoyed writing about this topic. I learned lots of interesting facts that might help me raise my tortoises and cool facts like who was the biggest tortoise in the world and the smallest tortoise in the world. The Tortoise is a very great creature. It s been alive longer than I have. I hope they outlive my lifetime and many after that.