Type genus of the Testudinidae; Also called: genus Testudo.
ETYM Old Eng. tortuce, from Old Fren. tortis crooked, from Latin tortus twisted, crooked, contorted, p. p. of torquere, tortum, to wind.
Usually herbivorous land turtles having clawed elephant-like limbs; worldwide in arid area except Australia and Antarctica.
Any member of the family Testudinidae, the land-living members of the order Chelonia, which includes all turtles, terrestrial or aquatic. The shell of tortoises is generally more domed than that of aquatic turtles; their hind legs are stumpy and columnar; the front legs are often shovel-shaped for digging. Tortoises are herbivorous and occur in the warmer regions of all continents except Australia. Tortoises range in size from 10 cm/4 in to 150 cm/5 ft, and some are known to live for 150 years.
Best-known in the pet trade is the small spur-thighed tortoise Testudo graeca found in Asia Minor, the Balkans, and N Africa. The giant species of the Galapagos and Seychelles may reach a length of 1.5 m/5 ft and weigh over 225 kg/500 lb.
They can yield about 90 kg/200 lb of meat, hence their almost complete extermination by sailors in passing ships. North American tortoises are represented by four species of gopher tortoises (genus Gophenus) living in the SW US and Mexico.
Tortoise shell is the semitransparent shell of the marine hawksbill turtle.
Any member of the reptilian order Chelonia, characterized by a horn-covered bony shell consisting of an upper and lower portion joined along the sides. The main divisions are the hidden-necked turtles (Cryptodira) that withdraw their heads in an S-shaped vertical curve and the side-necked turtles (Pleurodira) that withdraw their heads in a horizontal, sideways curve. See also terrapin, tortoise, and sea turtle.
The use of radiotransmitters has shown that migrating leatherback turtles navigate by following the contours of the Earth's crust along existing pathways. The identification and protection of these pathways could substantially reduce the numbers of leatherback turtles drowned in driftnets or caught on fishing lines.Any of various aquatic and land reptiles having a bony shell and flipper-like limbs for swimming.