Monday 23rd May will be World Tortoise Day, so I thought it would be nice to share a few interesting and funny facts I’ve heard found out since having Izzy.
- All tortoises are turtles, but not all turtles are tortoises. This is because tortoises are a sub species. In general turtles live in water, and tortoises live on land (though there is at least one exception, which is the box turtle who lives on land). Their feet and shells also look different.
- A group or tortoises is called a ‘Creep’.
- The Roman army used something called a Testudo Formation; testudo is Latin for tortoise.
- Turtles are great swimmers, but tortoises aren’t very good at all. Though both can hold their breath for a very long time (I am talking hours), and when a tortoise hides their head inside it shell, they are holding their breath, as they have to exhale all the air out of their lungs in order to make space for their head.
- Charles Darwin and Steve Irwin both cared for the same tortoise, a Galapagous named Harriet, who he collected in 1835, she died in 2006.
- They can smell with their throats.
- The first animal to successfully circle the moon and return safely was a tortoise, sent by the Soviet Union in 1968.
- In 2006 a tortoise proved better (though maybe not faster) at navigating a maze than a rat in lab tests. It used landmarks to navigate, and never visited the same area twice.
Finally, here’s a link to a great YouTube video of some funny tortoise antics: www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuJyfWvCGQ4
“Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.” Mark Twain.