Are Turtles Tortoises


Are Turtles and Tortoises the Same?

Are Turtles Tortoises Turtles and Tortoises are both reptiles that share many of the same characteristics, making it is easy to think of them as being the exact same thing. However, there are a few differences between these two species that set them apart from one another.


Turtles are often found both in freshwater and ocean habitats, and typically have lighter shells. Turtles can also swim and are associated with being able to breathe underwater. Even though you may have seen a turtle in an aquarium, wild sea turtles can travel distances of hundreds to thousands of miles.


Tortoises, on the other hand, live on land and only in dry habitats. Tortoises have a heavier, more curved shell. They cannot swim and have a hard time floating in water. One of the most well-known tortoises, the Galapagos tortoise, is known for its longevity and can live for up to 150 years.

Distinct Features

There are a few things that are distinct to each animal that you may not know. Here are a few to keep in mind next time you spot a turtle or tortoise:

    • Turtles: have scales on their legs and webbed feet for swimming.


    • Tortoises: have claw-like nails on their feet and can easily retract their head and limbs into their shell.



The difference between Turtles and Tortoises may not be immediately obvious. When it comes down to it, they look quite similar but they live in different environments and have different physical characteristics. Turtles have lighter shells, webbed feet, and can swim. Tortoises live on land and have heavy, curved shells with claws on their feet.

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