T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Tortoise (Galápagos) Chelonoidis nigra

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Family: Testudinidae
Genus: Chelonoidis
Species: C. nigra
Binomial name: Chelonoidis nigra
Common name: Galápagos tortoise, Galápagos giant tortoise

Chelonoidis nigra the Galápagos tortoises are native to seven of the Galápagos Islands, a volcanic archipelago about 1,000 km west of the Ecuadorian mainland.
In New Zealand, in 2018 there are 4 adults (2 female, 2 males) and one newly hatched (20 Dec 2017) tortoise in the Auckland museum.

Gálapagos tortoises are the largest tortoises in the world and have a lifespan of over 100 years. A captive individual lived at least 170 years. They are one of the longest-lived vertebrates.
They have a large bony shell of a dull brown or grey colour. The plates of the shell are fused with the ribs in a rigid protective structure that is integral to the skeleton. They keep a characteristic scute (shell segment) pattern on their shells throughout life, though the annual growth bands are not useful for determining age because the outer layers are worn off with time. A tortoise can withdraw its head, neck, and forelimbs into its shell for protection. 
The legs are large and stumpy, with dry, scaly skin and hard scales. The front legs have five claws, the back legs have four.
The larger bodied tortoises range >317 kg in mature males and >181 kg in adult females. 
They are herbivores eating flowers, leaves, and grasses and because they can store reserves of food and water within their body Galápagos tortoises can go without eating or drinking for up to a year.  



Feeding.


Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/