Tortoises are characterized by, protected by, described by and hunted for their shells. We are going to look into some fascinating facts about tortoise shells as we look into the biology of tortoises including their development and how they have come to hold a lot of our fascination with their slow moving yet long lived lifestyle. Many people looking for a tortoise for sale would be surprised to know how unique they really are.
Tortoises are located on most of the continents including North and South America, Africa, Asia and Europe as well as parts of Indonesia, Madagascar and the Galapagos. They’ve evolved to live in thin rocky islands in the middle of the ocean, lush jungles from the Amazon, deserts in Africa and the cold steppes of Russia. All this while carrying large and heavy domed shells made from bone in their backs. Some tortoises feed plant and grasses while others feed on fruits and carrion. Some tortoises will even chase down small insects and snails as part of their varied diet.
The most obvious part of a tortoise is its large domed and usually brightly colored shell. The tortoise shell is a group of bones that are joined together at visible sutures known as scutes. These bones form the top and bottom half of the shell known as the carapace and the plastron. The carapace is linked to the ribcage and the backbone of the tortoise and serves to protect these slow moving animals from predators and the elements. This exact same device used for protection is what has caused the demise of several tortoises as they’re hunted and killed for the use of their shells by humans.
Several years ago sailors passing through the Galapagos Islands brought about the extinction of some Giant Tortoise species by collecting them . Tortoises were easy to grab and load on a boat where they would last for months and supply fresh meat into the sailors at sea. At precisely the same time tortoises through Asia and India were collated and killed for the use of their beautiful shells in making combs, eyeglass frames and other fancy ornaments. Using plastics did a lot to curb this destruction of tortoises in addition to the enactment of numerous protective laws designed to stop the eradication of tortoise species. Today the expression tortoise shell is used to refer to a medley of black, brown and yellow colors commonly seen on radiated and star tortoises.
These beautiful long lived animals can spend their entire lives in the same small area or roam a long distance as they search for food, mates and territory to make their own. Tortoises in captivity quickly become part of the household with their endearing nature and endless curiosity. You must always do your research first if you’re considering picking up a tortoise for sale.
Amir has a passion for animals and an eye for detail. Having over 25 years of reptile breeding expertise and husbandry means that he has spent endless hours studying them and has a vast knowledge about reptiles including how they act, what are the best foods for a specific reptile species, how to breed them, which ones are best for your children, the best methods for taking care of them etc..