10 Things Must Know About Galapagos Tortoise

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The Galapagos Tortoise or Galapagos Giant Tortoise is a species of very large tortoise in the Genus Chelonioids. It includes 15 subspecies of Tortoise.

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It is the largest living species of Tortoise, with some modern Galapagos Tortoises weighing up to 420 kgs.

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With the lifespan in the wild for over 100 years, it is one of the longest lived vertebrates. Captive Galapagos Tortoises can live up to 180 years.

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Spanish explorers, who discovered the Galapagos Islands in the 16th century, named these Tortoises after the Spanish word Galapago which means the "Tortoise".

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Galapagos Tortoises are native to seven of the Galapagos Islands. Their shell size and shape vary between their subspecies and populations. 

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Galapagos Tortoise population declined from over 250,000 in the 16th century to a low number of 15,000 in the 1970s.

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Conservation efforts, beginning in the 20th century, have resulted into the thousands of captive bred juveniles being released onto their ancestral home islands.

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Males are larger than females. The adult males weigh around 272–317 kgs (600–699 lbs) while the females are 136–181 kgs (300–399 lbs). 

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The Galapagos Tortoise females can lay eggs from 12 to 16. They dig a hole in the ground then lay eggs. After 120-130 days, the eggs hatches and cute little Tortoises come outside.

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The Tortoises are Ectothermic (cold blooded), so they relax for 1 to 2 hours after beginning to absorb the sun's heat through their dark shells before actively foraging for 8 hours a day.

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They travel mostly in the early morning or evening between resting and grazing areas. They have been observed to walk at a speed of 0.3 kmph.

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