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How Big Can A Tortoise Grow?

By Kerry
Updated on

Tortoises are fun and loveable creatures that can be found in many parts of the world. They are known for their ability to live long lives, but not all tortoises grow as big as others.

Tortoises have a lifespan of up to 100 years or more.

Tortoise crossing a dirt road

The average size of a female tortoise is around 30-40 cm (12-16 inches) while males tend to be smaller at 25-30 cm (10-12 inches).

A male tortoise’s weight may range from 2 kg (4.5 pounds) to 5 kg (11 pounds), while females weigh between 1.8 kg (3.9 pounds) and 3 kg (7 pounds).

Tortoises are reptiles that belong to the order Testudines, which is a group of animals with four limbs (two legs and two arms) and a shell covering their body. They have no tail, but they do have a long neck and head.

The tortoise has been around for hundreds of millions of years. It was first discovered in India by an Indian scientist named Chasen who found it living on a tree trunk. He called them “tree-dwelling turtles” because he thought they lived in trees.

In fact, they live in many types of habitats including grasslands, forests, swamps, deserts, mountains, caves, and even urban areas. There are over 100 species of tortoises worldwide.

Tortoises can be divided into three groups: terrestrial, marine, and freshwater. Terrestrial tortoises live on land and are usually herbivores or omnivores. Marine tortoises live in saltwater and are carnivorous. Freshwater tortoises live in freshwater and are mainly herbivorous.

Tortoise Size. The size of a tortoise varies depending on its habitat. For example, some species of tortoises can grow up to 30 inches long while others only reach about 5 inches. Some species of tortoises weigh as much as 3 pounds and some weigh less than 1 pound.

The largest known tortoise is the Aldabra giant tortoise. This species lives on the island of Aldabra in Seychelles. These tortoises can weigh as much as 150 pounds!

The smallest known tortoise is the dwarf Galápagos tortoise. This species grows to just 2 inches long.

Most tortoises are not very active. They spend most of their time sleeping and eating. Most tortoises sleep during the day and eat at night.

When they are awake, they use their front claws to dig through soil and vegetation. If we keep them properly cared for, they will continue to contribute to our society for generations to come.

The history of tortoises goes back thousands of years. People have kept these reptiles as pets for hundreds of years. But, there were also times when people used tortoises for food. During World War II, the Japanese ate tortoises for dinner.

Today, tortoises are still eaten in parts of Asia and Africa.

Types Of Tortoise And Their Height And Weight

There are over 100 species of turtles and tortoises in the world today. Many of these species have become extinct in recent years due to deforestation, hunting, and other reasons. However, there are still many species of tortoises that can be found all over the world.

Let’s take a look at several species of tortoise and their average height, weight, and size.

Gopher tortoise walking on the grass

Pet Tortoise

Pet tortoises are a very popular choice of pet among people all across the world. These pets can be kept as indoor or outdoor pets. If you want your pet to stay safe from predators then you should keep it indoors.

Pet tortoises come in different sizes and shapes. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Common Turtle – This type of tortoise is usually between 2 inches and 3 feet tall. They weigh anywhere between 5 ounces and 20 pounds.
  • Gopher Tortoise – These are also known as gopher tortoises. They are smaller than other tortoises and are about 1 foot tall. They weigh between 4 and 10 pounds.
  • Slender Tree Turtle – These are small tortoises that are only 1 inch tall. They weigh less than 1 pound.

Tortoise Type: Egyptian

The Egyptian tortoise is one of the largest tortoises in the world. They grow up to 6 feet tall and weigh more than 200 pounds. They can live up to 50 years old. They are native to Africa and Asia.

These turtles are not commonly seen outside of zoos. However, some exotic breeders raise these animals for sale.

Tortoise Type: Spider

Spider tortoises are another large variety of turtle. They are native to Central America and South America. They can get up to 8 feet tall and weigh more than 300 pounds. Like other tortoises, spider tortoises eat insects, worms, snails, and plants.

Tortoise Type: Pancake

Pancake tortoises are native to Australia. They can grow up to 7 feet tall and weigh more than 600 pounds. They eat mainly fruits and vegetables.

This tortoise is well known for its ability to roll into a ball when threatened. This tortoise is also used as food in some countries, such as China.

Tortoise Type: Greek

Greek tortoises are native to Greece. They can grow up to 9 feet tall and weigh more than 200 pounds. They eat mostly leaves and flowers. They are often kept as pets in Greece.

Their tortoise is also sold at markets throughout Europe for eating. They can live up to 60 years old with proper care.

Tortoise Type: Russian

Russian tortoises are native to Russia. They can grow up to 10 feet tall and weigh more than 250 pounds. They eat mostly roots, tubers, and bulbs. They are typically kept in zoos and circuses. Physically, they look similar to the American box turtle.

These tortoises can live up to 80 years old and are fully grown when they are 12 years old.

Tortoise Type: Hermann’s

Hermann’s tortoises are native African. They can grow up to 11 feet tall and weigh more than 400 pounds. They eat mostly fruit and vegetables.

They are typically kept by farmers and ranchers as livestock feed. They can live up to 70 years and are fully grown when they are 13 years old. Characteristics of this tortoise include white markings on torsos, black spots on legs, and dark-colored eyes.

Tortoise Type: Elongated

The Elongated turtle is native to North America. It grows up to 15 feet long and weighs over 500 pounds. It eats mostly vegetation and grasses.

The Elongated tortoise has been bred in captivity for many years. They have been shown to live up to 100 years old. These tortoises are known for being able to swim very fast – up to 20 miles per hour!

Tortoise Type: Indian Star

Indian star tortoises are native to India. They can grow up to 14 feet tall and weigh more than 300 pounds. They eat mostly fruits and vegetables. They are usually kept in zoos and farms. They can live up to 75 years old and are fully mature when they are 18 years old.

Common characteristics of this type of tortoise include orange stripes on their backs, yellow or brownish-yellow coloration on their shells, and black and white patterned skin.

Tortoise Type: Leopard

Leopard tortoises are native to Africa. They can grow up to 16 feet tall and weigh more than 700 pounds. They eat mostly green leafy vegetables and fruits.

They are often kept at zoos and circuses around the world. They can live up to 80 years old and are full-grown when they are 30 years old. They are named after their spotted appearance.

Tortoise Type: Chinese Crested

Chinese crested tortoises are native Asian. They can grow up to 17 feet tall and weigh more than 800 pounds. They eat mostly plants and trees. They are typically kept for pet purposes. They can live up to 90 years old and are fully mature when they are 40 years old.

Common characteristics include a crest that runs along the top of its head, large size, and bright colors.

Tortoise Type: Burmese Mountain

Burmese mountain tortoises are native to Asia. They can grow up to 19 feet tall and weigh more than 1000 pounds. They eat mainly bamboo shoots and other plant materials. They are often kept and raised for food.

They can live up to 85 years old and are fully developed when they are 50 years old. This tortoise is also called the Giant Tortoise because it can reach sizes of up to 22 inches from the tip of its nose to the end of its tail.

Tortoise Type: Sulcata

Sulcata tortoises are native to South America. They can grow up to 23 feet tall and weigh more than 2000 pounds. They eat mostly leaves and stems. They are typically kept as pets and used for food.

They can survive up to 120 years old and are fully grown when they are 60 years old. Common characteristics for this tortoise include a shell with a saddle shape, a red belly, and a blue-black eye.

Tortoise Types: Galápagos

Galápagos’ tortoises are native to Ecuador. They can grow up to 24 feet tall and weigh more than 3000 pounds. They eat mostly roots, tubers, and cacti. They are often kept in zoos and circuses.

They can live up to 150 years old and fully mature when they are 70 years old. Common characteristics are a dark brown body with light spots, a long neck, and a pointed snout.

Tortoise Types: Red River

Red river tortoises are native African. They can grow up to 25 feet tall and weigh more than 4000 pounds. They eat mainly roots, tubers, fruits, and seeds. They are typically kept by farmers and ranchers.

They can live up to 110 years old and are fully mature when they are 65 years old. Common characteristics: a short snout, a thick neck, and a broad back.

Tortoise Type: Black Forest

Black forest tortoises are native to Europe. They can grow up to 26 feet tall and weigh more than 5000 pounds. They eat mainly fruit and vegetables. They are typically kept captive in zoos and circuses.

They can live up to 100 years old and are fully developed when they are 55 years old. Common characteristics of this tortoise are a small head, a blackish coloration, and a white belly.

Tortoise: Indian Giant

Indian giant tortoises are native to India and Sri Lanka. They can grow up to 27 feet tall and weigh more than 7000 pounds. They eat mainly grasses and herbs. They are often kept on farms and ranches.

They can live up to 130 years old and are fully mature when they are 75 years old. Common characteristics include a wide mouth, a narrow head, and a flat face.

Tortoise: Indian Pond Turtle

Indian pond turtles are native to North America. They can grow as big as 29 feet tall and weigh more than 9000 pounds. They eat mainly aquatic plants and algae. They are often kept for their meat.

They can live up to 140 years old and are fully mature when they are 80 years old. Common characteristics include an elongated neck, a large head, and a long tail.

Tortoise Type: Aldabra

Aldabra’s tortoises are native to Africa. They can grow up to 30 feet tall and weigh more than 10000 pounds. They eat mainly leaves and flowers. They are often kept wild and in captivity.

They can live up to 120 years old and are fully grown when they are 50 years old. Common characteristics are a yellowish coloration, a long neck, a thin head, and a short tail.

What Does Tortoise Eat?

Tortoise eating strawberries

Tortoises eat a variety of foods such as grasses, weeds, shrubs, trees, roots, bulbs, insects, fish, crustaceans, worms, and other reptiles.

The typical diet of a tortoise consists of about 20% vegetation and 80% invertebrates. Invertebrate foods consist of insects, spiders, beetles, millipedes, centipedes, slugs, earthworms, crayfish, crabs, shrimp, and snails.

Vegetable food consists of grasses, weeds, and other plant matter. Plants that are eaten include watercress, lettuce, spinach, radishes, carrots, parsley, turnips, onions, garlic, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, sweet potatoes, yams, squash, pumpkins, corn, sunflowers, peanuts, strawberries, bananas, mangoes, pineapples, papaya, apples, oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, peaches, plums, pears, nectarines, and more.

Lifecycle Of A Tortoise

The lifecycle of a tortoise begins with the hatchling stage. Hatchlings have soft shells and are usually born during springtime.

After hatching, the baby tortoises will spend the first few months of their life exploring and eating. Then it will start to develop into a juvenile tortoise. Juveniles will continue to molt until they reach adulthood.

Adults will be able to reproduce at around 5-6 years old. A female tortoise will lay eggs every year or two. She will lay her eggs between April and October.

Eggs will take approximately 2 weeks to incubate. When the eggs hatch, the babies will stay inside their mother’s shell until they are ready to emerge.

At this point, they will crawl out of the nest and begin to explore the world. If the weather conditions are favorable, the baby tortoise will quickly become mobile. It will begin to feed itself by consuming small insects and plants.

As the baby grows older, it will consume larger amounts of food. Baby tortoises will typically remain under the care of their parents for 1-5 years before moving on to another family.

Why Do We Keep Tortoises?

There are many reasons why people keep tortoises. Some like them because they provide companionship and entertainment. Others enjoy keeping them because they are useful animals.

For example, some people use tortoises as pets because they are easy to maintain and inexpensive to buy. These animals make good pets because they don’t require much attention, and they are not aggressive.

People also keep tortoises as an educational tool. They can teach children about the natural environment and help them learn how to care for living things.

Fun Tortoise Facts

Tortoises live in almost all parts of the world except Antarctica. There are over 200 different species of tortoises found throughout the globe. Most of these species are native to Africa and Asia. However, there are several species of tortoises that are native to North America.

One of the most famous American tortoises in the Galápagos tortoise. This animal was named after the island where Darwin discovered his theory of evolution.

Another well-known tortoise is the African-Spurred tortoise. This animal has been used in medical research because it is one of the oldest species of tortoise.

There are many reasons why tortoises are important to us today. First, tortoises are useful for studying evolution. Scientists study how tortoises evolved from other reptiles and what changes occurred along the way.

Second, tortoises provide a good source of protein. Third, tortoises help control pests such as rats, mice, snakes, lizards, and insects. Fourth, tortoises are great companions.

They make excellent pets, and they are easy to care for. Fifth, tortoises are beautiful creatures. We enjoy watching them move across the ground, climb rocks, and swim in ponds. Sixth, tortoises are part of our culture.

You can find tortoises carved out of wood and stone all over the world. Seventh, tortoises are interesting to watch. Their movements are slow and deliberate.

Eighth, tortoises are fascinating. They are so different from other reptiles. Ninth, tortoises are fun. They are playful and curious. Tenth, tortoises are unique. No one else has the same kind of shell as a tortoise.

Caring For Your Tortoise

Keeping a pet requires patience and dedication. You must know what you’re doing if you want to successfully raise a tortoise. Your tortoise needs proper nutrition, exercise, and plenty of time outside.

You should also be aware of any health problems your tortoise may have. Many tortoises suffer from digestive disorders.

Therefore, you need to ensure that your tortoise gets enough fresh water and eats healthy foods. You should also monitor your tortoise daily so that you can notice changes in behavior. You should try to prevent your tortoise from getting too hot or cold.

Also, you should avoid exposing your tortoise to extreme temperatures. Finally, you should never allow your tortoise to get wet.

The best way to care for your tortoise is to keep him indoors. He will be happier when he stays in a safe place. You should also give your tortoise plenty of room to roam.

Make sure you provide him with a large enclosure containing lots of hiding places. You should also consider purchasing a heated terrarium. This will help your tortoise stay warm when the temperature drops.

The Importance Of Tortoise Care

A tortoise is a very important part of nature. Without them, the ecosystem would be greatly affected. Tortoises play a vital role in maintaining balance within the earth’s ecosystems. Their shells protect their bodies from predators and other dangers.

The meat that comes out of their shells provides food for other creatures. Additionally, tortoises act as a host for parasites such as ticks and mites.

History Of Tortoises

Tortoise on white background

People have kept tortoises since ancient times. It is believed that tortoises were first domesticated by the Egyptians. The Romans later added more exotic breeds to their collection. They were then brought to Europe during the Middle Ages.

During this period, people began breeding tortoises for food. Because tortoises produce eggs every year, they became popular among farmers.

Farmers began selling tortoise eggs to restaurants and hotels. Today, tortoises are still being bred for food, but are also commonly kept as pets.

Tortoise Facts

There are many interesting facts about tortoises. Here are some fun facts about tortoises:

  1. A baby tortoise grows at an average rate of 1 centimeter per day.
  2. A female tortoise lays approximately 100 eggs each year.
  3. A male tortoise can store sperm for up to three years.
  4. Female tortoises can lay eggs even while they are pregnant.
  5. A tortoise’s shell is made of calcium carbonate.
  6. Some tortoises can run at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour.
  7. A tortoise can survive without eating for up to two weeks.
  8. A tortoise’s lifespan can vary depending on its species. For example, a Galápagos tortoise can live for over 80 years. However, a Chinese soft-shelled turtle lives only for 2 to 3 years.
  9. Tortoises are one of the oldest animals on Earth. They have been around for millions of years.
  10. There are currently over 500 different kinds of tortoises living all over the world.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the average size, height, and weight of a tortoise depend on the breed of tortoise, as well as their environment and the conditions in which they live.

Most tortoises weigh between 6 ounces and 12 pounds. They can grow to heights of 4 inches and lengths of 8 feet. Tortoises come in many colors and patterns.

When it comes to caring for a tortoise, make sure that you do not neglect any of his needs. Keep him inside where it is safe and comfortable.

Provide him with enough space so that he has somewhere to hide and rest. Also, ensure that he gets plenty of fresh air and water. Tortoises are amazing animals. They help maintain balance within our planet’s ecosystem. They provide us with food and protection.

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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.