giant galapagos tortoise


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  • Location: Semilla Verde Hotel, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos National Park, Off the coast of Ecuador
  • Source: Skyline Webcams
  • Info: Live streaming webcam showing Giant Galapagos tortoises in the Galapagos National Park on Santa Cruz Island. The tortoises are at the Semilla Verde Hotel. The Galapagos Islands are part of the country of Ecuador and are situated in the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 kilometers west of northern South America.

More info: The giant tortoise arrived in Galapagos from mainland South America 2-3 million years ago. They really are the giants of the tortoise world with males weighing up to 227 kgs and females 113kgs.

There are two types of Galápagos tortoises. The largest, which have big, round shells, are called “domes.” The smaller type of tortoises have shells that curl up in front and are called “saddlebacks.” The tortoises shell is not solid but made up of honeycomb structures that enclose small air chambers which reduces the weight of the shell. The shell encompasses the animal’s ribs and the lungs are located on the top of the body of the tortoise, under the top dome of the shell.

The feet on the powerful front legs are turned inward, so each step moves the tortoise from side to side and not in a straight line. The Galapagos tortoise does not have teeth but has a bony edge to its mouth which it uses to bite off and mash food. Once in the mouth, food is quickly swallowed. Tortoises do not have a good sense of smell and rely on vision to find food. The Galapagos tortoise diet consists of fruits, flowers, leaves, grasses and cactus pads. Because they can store food and water so efficiently it is possible for them to go without eating or drinking for up to a year.

Like all reptiles the Galapagos tortoise is cold blooded and will often use mud wallows to cool off in the heat of the day or keep warm on cool nights.