Difference between Turtles and Tortoises

Tortoises have rounded and domed shells while turtles have thinner, more water-dynamic shells. Turtle shells are more streamlined to aid in swimming. Tortoises spend the most time on land and turtles are spent their life in water. One of the most notable differences between Turtles and Tortoises is that the adaptation of their legs to the environment in which they occur. In this sense, tortoises have special membranes that allow them to swim easily, unlike turtles, their fingers are much more adapted. This article will help to study and focus on key differences b/w Turtles and Tortoises.

Read on to find out all about turtles and tortoises!

Both belong to the same family called Chelonian. Reptiles are the habitat is the only main thing that differs between them. Tortoises dwell on land while turtles dwell in the water. The protective shell that is present as a defense mechanism for them is the main character that occurs in them. The head and limbs are protruding from the shell.


Turtles are reptiles that have a dorsal shell that is made up of perfectly structured and compact plates are attached to the plastron (lower part of the shell) through a lateral walkway. They have a unique shell made of cartilage and bones. The shell acts as a protection or shield for the turtles.


It is impossible to separate a turtle from its shell since the ribs are attached to the latter. They not having teeth, is advisable to be careful with their bite, since they have a pointed mouth made up of a very hard membrane and very strong jaws. They can live for many years in optimal conditions. Normally, they reach 50-60 years, but it is not uncommon for them to reach 80 or even exceed them on average.

Feeding of turtles

Basically, the turtle is a primarily herbivorous animal. The diet should be as varied as possible, maintaining a proportion of 91% vegetables and 11% fruits. Calcium and phosphorus are very important elements in feeding the turtles because they are made up of their shells and need to keep them strong and healthy. The ratio between the two elements must be taken into account: foods with more calcium than phosphorus (dried figs, spinach, broccoli leaves, dandelion, chard, parsley) are suitable. It does not mean that you cannot eat other vegetables (tomato, lettuce, cucumber, carrot, or zucchini) and fruits (apple, melon). It is best to offer him a complete diet that includes all of these foods.

Reproduction of Turtles

They are oviparous, and they reproduce by eggs. Females reach the reproductive age at approximately 11 years and depending on the species they will lay more or fewer eggs, although the average is 8. The mother will look for an appropriate place for laying.

It will make a hole of about 11 cm on the ground with the help of its hind legs and it will let the eggs fall on it. while he will cover it again using the back legs. Breeding seasons occur during spring and summer if environmental conditions are more pleasant.

How do you take care of a turtle?

  • Turtles are very delicate animals that must be handled with great care.
  • They must be protected from other pets ( cats, dogs, rabbits) that can mistake it for a toy and damage it, as well as explain to the little ones how they should treat it.
  • Make sure that they cannot access dangerous places such as stairs, ponds, or holes.
  • Let him sunbathe frequently and walk as long as he wants.
  • Do not force her to leave her shelter or dig herself up, it can be harmful to her.

See also: 10 Types of Turtles That Make Great Pets


Basically, it belongs to the Testudinae family and orders Testudines. Tortoises also have a protective shell, like turtles, which protects them from predators and different threats. A tortoise is one of the most common reptiles in our homes and there are several classes. Florida or Red-eared Turtle is a well-known example of an aquatic turtle or tortoise, which is protected and its acquisition is prohibited. Its original appearance and striking, the clumsy and slow movements, as well as the peaceful character they demonstrate, make it a much-loved animal and ideal for the little ones in the house.

Physical traits of Tortoises

Tortoises have a dorsal shell that is made up of perfectly structured and compact plates. In turn, it is attached to the lower part of the shell through a side walkway. It is not possible to separate a turtle from its shell since the ribs are attached to the latter. They do not have teeth. it is convenient to be careful that tortoises do not bite us since have a pointed mouth made up of a very hard membrane that in the case of large turtles could be dangerous. Their neck is very long and flexible, if tortoises want it and in a very fast way they can stretch it or pick it up. They have two respiratory systems: one system formed by membranes similar to the gills of fish. while the other pulmonary, like land animals.

Feeding and Reproduction Of Tortoises

There are two types of food for tortoises: sticks, or feed bars and the Gammarus, a small stuffed crustacean, a kind of tiny prawn. The best diet is to mix form these two foods with others such as fish, meat, or vegetables, although these chelonians are basically carnivores. Vitamin intake also plays a key role, in the form of frozen fish food.

Regarding reproduction, Tortoises lay eggs in the nests they have dug underground. It is important to know that it’s not an easy task for the reproduction process to end successfully in the captivity in which these small reptiles are immersed, although if the optical conditions are met, it can bear fruit.

Key Differences B/w Turtles and Tortoises

  • Turtles are reptiles that live well in water and spend most of their lives in water. While tortoise is reptiles that live well on land and spend most of their life on land.
  • Turtles’ shells are light and flat in shape. while tortoiseshell is heavy and dome-shaped.
  • Turtles have short, bent legs. on the other hand, the Turtles have webbed claw-like fins that help them swim.
  • Turtles are omnivorous; they eat everything, including fruits, vegetables, and meat. while Tortoises are herbivores; they usually eat vegetables. Some of its species also eat meat.
  • The half-life of the turtle is 21 to 40 years. while The half-life of the tortoise is 81 to 150 years.
  • Turtles are found in America and Africa. while Tortoises are found in Asia and Africa.

Other Differences

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