Five Fascinating Facts and the Galapagos Giant Tortoise
1. Weighing up to 400kgs (880 lbs), the Galapagos Giant Tortoise is the 10th heaviest living reptile.
2. The Galapagos Giant Tortoise can live more than 100 years in the wild and up to 170 years in captivity.
3. Fifteen subspecies of the Galapagos Giant Tortoise had been identified originally, but of these only ten subspecies exist today. An eleventh subspecies had only one individual living in captivity who was given the nickname, Lonesome George. In 2012, at the ripe old age of 100 (rough estimate by scientists), Lonesome George passed away of natural causes associated with aging tortoises.
4. Galapagos Giant Tortoises size and build vary between subspecies. On islands with humid highlands, the tortoises are larger, with domed shells and short necks – on islands with dry lowlands, the tortoises are smaller, with “saddleback” shells and long necks. Charles Darwin’s observations of these differences in 1835, contributed to the development of his theory of evolution.
5. Galapagos Giant Tortoises live on a diet of leaves lichens, grass, cacti, and berries. These creatures can survive up to 18 months when deprived of food or water.