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Difference between Turtles and Tortoises

Difference between Turtles and Tortoises

When talking about tortoises and turtles, it’s important to understand the difference between the two. Both creatures belong to the same order, Testudines, but there are key distinctions between these shelled reptiles. Turtles have a carapace – a top shell – that is fused to their ribs, while tortoises do not. Additionally, the bottom of a turtle’s shell is Concave (curved inwards), while the bottom of a tortoiseshell is flat. Finally, turtles can pull their heads and legs entirely into their shells for protection, whereas tortoises cannot.

What are Turtles?

Turtles are one of the oldest and most popular reptiles in the world. Many people think of them as cute and harmless creatures, but they can actually be quite dangerous. Turtles come in many different shapes and sizes, but all of them have a hard shell that protects their bodies. Some turtles can grow to be very large, while others are just a few inches long. They can live in both fresh water and saltwater and can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Turtles are carnivorous animals, which means that they eat meat. They typically eat small fish, insects, and other invertebrates.

What are Tortoises?

Tortoises are a group of land-dwelling reptiles of the order Testudines. They are characterized by a large, hard shell that protects them from predators and the elements. Tortoises can vary greatly in size, with some species reaching over two meters in length, while others are much smaller. They are found on every continent except Antarctica, and there are around fifty different species of tortoise. Tortoises are mostly herbivorous, and their diet consists mostly of leaves, grasses, and other vegetation. Some species of tortoise are highly endangered due to habitat loss and illegal hunting for their meat and shells.

Difference between Turtles and Tortoises

Though they may appear similar at first glance, turtles and tortoises are actually quite different creatures. Turtles are born with flippers instead of legs, and they spend the majority of their lives in water. In contrast, tortoises have four legs and prefer to live on land. One of the most noticeable differences between these two animals is their shell. A turtle’s shell is light and curved, allowing them to swim quickly through the water. Tortoises, on the other hand, have a heavy and domed shell that helps to protect them from predators.


Turtles and tortoises are both reptiles, but there is a big difference between the two. Turtles live in water, while tortoises live on land. Tortoises have shells that protect them from predators, while turtles’ shells are mainly used for swimming. The biggest difference between the two is that tortoises can pull their heads and legs inside their shells to protect themselves, while turtles cannot.

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