Tortoises are characterized by, protected by, described by and hunted for their shells. We’re going to look into some fascinating facts about tortoise shells as we look into the biology of tortoises including their development and how they’ve come to hold so much of our fascination with their slow moving yet long lived lifestyle. A lot of people searching for a tortoise for sale would be surprised to know how unique they really are.
Tortoises are found 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 have evolved to live in sparse rocky islands in the middle of the ocean, lush jungles in the Amazon, deserts in Africa and the cold steppes of Russia. All this while carrying large and heavy domed shells made from bone on their backs. Some tortoises feed on vegetation and grasses while others feed on fruits and carrion.
The most obvious part of a tortoise is its large domed and usually brightly colored shell. The tortoise shell is a set of bones that are joined together at visible sutures known as scutes. These bones form the top and bottom half of the shell called the carapace and the plastron. The carapace is linked to the ribcage and the backbone of the tortoise and functions to protect these slow moving animals from predators and the elements. This very same apparatus used for security is what has caused the demise of several tortoises as they’re hunted and killed for the use of their shells by humans.
Many years ago sailors passing through the Galapagos Islands caused the extinction of some Giant Tortoise species by collecting them for food. Tortoises were easy to catch and load on a boat where they would last for weeks and provide fresh meat to the sailors at sea. At precisely the exact 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.
These gorgeous long lived creatures can spend their entire lives in the same small area or roam a long distance as they look for food, mates and territory to create 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 thinking about picking up a tortoise for sale.
Amir has a love 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 behave, what are the best foods for a particular reptile species, how to breed them, which ones are best for your kids, the best ways of taking care of them etc..