3d art render of a Galapagos Tortoise.
Made with Bryce 3d.
Geochelone elephantopus. There are 14 described subspecies of the Galapagos tortoise of which 11 still exist, some with only small populations. There are “dome-shelled” and “saddle-backed” Galapagos tortoises. Where ground vegetation is the main source of food the animals are dome-shelled. Those that feed on higher growing cactus have a curved shell front to allow their longer neck to reach the pads.
Galapagos tortoises vary in size from 29 inches (shell length) and 60 pounds to 4 feet and 700 pounds. There is little variation in color, overall dull-brown being standard. The male has concave underside, which facilitates mating.
DISTRIBUTION and HABITAT:
9,000 TO 10,000 TORTOISES SURVIVE ON THE Galapagos archipelago, 600 miles west of Ecuador. Ancestors of these reptiles may have floated there on clumps of vegetation disgorged from rivers of the continent. Another species of giant tortoise is found on the Indian Ocean island of Aldabra off East Africa.
The giant tortoise leads a generally peaceful, lazy life. He wakes up between 7:00 and 8:00 in the morning and basks in the sun as his bulky body warms. The rest of the day he spends grazing and browsing. The tortoise retires at 4 or 5 in the afternoon, spending the cool night half submerged in mud or water or burrowed into dense brush. This keeps the tortoise warm and the conserved body heat probably aids digestion.
Tortoises have symbiotic relationships with other animals, such as between the tortoise and the finch. The tortoise will extend its neck to allow the finch to pick off ticks.
The Galapagos tortoise is a generalized herbivore feeding on grasses, vines, cactus fruit, and other vegetation. It eats the fruit of the manzanello tree and fallen fruits and spiny pads of the prickly pear. In the zoo they eat natural grasses, bananas, apples, papayas and lettuce.