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Turtle vs Tortoise (Facts You All Would Want to Know)

Well, we have been talking about many turtle related facts like their eating habits or how to take care of turtle eggs. But today, we shall answer the most amazing question which would be running in everyone’s mind. The question is how does a turtle differ from tortoise. Here is the answer to your question.

Let us, first highlight the difference and similarities between turtle and tortoise and further continue with knowing about each of them in slight detail.


7 Major Differences Between Turtles and Tortoises

  • Turtle dwells well in the Water and spends most of the time in water whereas A Tortoise dwells well on the land and spends most of the time on land.
  • Turtles are found in Africa and America whereas Tortoises are found mainly in Africa and Asia. However, some species of Tortoise are found in America too.
  • Turtle’s shell is lighter whereas Tortoise’s shell is a bit heavier. This might be because of their habitats. As Turtle has to swim in the water, their overall physique is lighter than Tortoise.
  • Turtle’s shell is flat and streamlined whereas Tortoise’s shell is dome-shaped.
  • Turtle’s feet are webbed with long claws whereas Tortoise’s feet are short and sturdy.
  • Turtles live up to 20-40 years. However, the record of the oldest turtle was 86 years(Approx) whereas Tortoises live up to 80-150 years. The oldest was 326 years(Approx).
  • Generally,Turtles are Omnivores whereas Tortoises are Herbivores.

These are the main differences between Turtles and Tortoises. Now, let’s check out the similarities between these two.

Similarities Between Turtles and Tortoises

  • Both Turtle and Tortoise are from Reptile family of Testudines order.
  • Both Lay eggs on the land.

As you have seen, there are many differences between Turtle and Tortoise. Though they are looked to be same for normal people. But, yes, they do have many differences as stated above. Now, let us see what are turtles and tortoise.

What are Turtles?

Turtles come from the Reptile family of the Testudines (Generally the reptiles having a shell or bony plates. These are the oldest reptiles on our planet) order. It has a hard bony shell-like structure that acts as the shield for them. The Turtle shell is developed from their ribs.

Turtles are sea-dwellers. That means they live in the sea mainly. They are cold-blooded (Ectotherms) animals which means their body’s internal temperature varies as per the environment they are in. One interesting fact is that although they live in the water, they lay eggs on soft and moist land.

Recommended Reading: How To Take Care of Turtle Egg At Home?

There are many types of Turtles; some Turtles spend more time on the land than the water such as Box Turtles. There is much more to talk about Turtles, so stay tuned to to get more information about them.

What is a Tortoise?

Tortoise is almost similar to the Turtles as these are also from the Reptile family and from the Testudines order. They do have a shell on their body that acts as the shield.  They are also cold-blooded animals.


So, that was all about a turtle and tortoise and also how do they differ or how are they similar. For many more topics on caring tips or the behavior of the turtle in your yard, we shall update more content.

If you have any comments on this topic, feel free to write to us in the comments box below.

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