10 Honest Difference Between Turtle and Tortoise with Similarities

What is the difference between turtle and tortoise?

Turtle and tortoise are both reptiles but they belong to different families. Their bodies are both shielded by shells. The upper parts of their bodies are called the carapace, the lower part is called the plastron. The two are attached by a bridge. The head and the limbs can be withdrawn from the shell. They are reclusive and are shy in nature.

The main difference between turtle and tortoise is that the turtle lives in the water while the tortoise lives on land.

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Comparison Table (Turtle vs Tortoise)

CharacteristicsTurtleTortoise
MeaningRefers to a reptile from the Chelonian family and lives in water.Refers to a reptile from the Chelonian family and lives on land.
Geographical locationThey are found in Africa and America.They are found in Asia and Africa but some species exist in America.
SizeThey are comparatively smaller in size.They are large in body size.
Shape of shellThey have flat streamlined shells.They have large dome-shaped shells.
Weight of the shellTheir shells are light in weight.The shells are heavier.
LimbsThey have webbed feet with long claws.The feet are short and sturdy with bent legs.
HeadThe head is partially withdrawn into the shell.The head can be completely withdrawn from the shell.
What they feed onThey feed on fruits, vegetation, meat hence they are omnivores.They are mostly herbivores hence rely on plant matter.
Young onesThe young ones stay in the nest alone for 90 to 120 days.The young ones move from the nest to their mother’s burrow soon after birth.
LifespanThey live between 20 to 40 years.They live between 80 to 150 years.

What is a Turtle?

Difference Between Turtle and Tortoise

Turtles are reptiles of order Chelonia. They have a special bony shell developed from their ribs that act as a shield on their bodies. They live in water and they are adapted to live in water by various features. Their feet are webbed to enable them to move in water with ease.

They are cold-blooded animals. Their body temperature does not change with the change in temperature of the surrounding. They breathe in the air but do not lay eggs underwater like other mammals that live in water.

They have short, sturdy feet. They move slowly because of their heavy shells. Large turtles tend to swim more than small ones. They swim with the aid of their webbed feet. They have exceptional night vision. They make various sounds while communicating.

What is a Tortoise?

Difference Between Turtle and Tortoise

Tortoise is a reptile species of the family Testudinidae. They mainly live on land. They have a shell on their bodies to protect them from predators and other threats. The shell is hard and they retract their heads and necks directly back into the shells to protect them.

They are diurnal animals depending on the temperatures. They are the longest living land animals in the world. They are placid and moves slowly because of the heavy shell on their bodies. Many species of tortoise are sexually dimorphic.

In some species, males have longer and more protruding necks than their female counterparts. They have small brains and this makes them take a long time to decide the next move. They are mainly herbivores hence they rely on plant matter for survival.

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Main Differences between Turtle and Tortoise

  1. Turtles live in water while tortoises live on land.
  2. Turtles are comparatively smaller in body size while tortoises are larger in body size.
  3. Turtles have flat streamlined shells while tortoises have large dome-shaped shells.
  4. Turtles have light shells while tortoises have heavy shells.
  5. Turtles are omnivores while tortoises are herbivores.
  6. The turtle’s head is partially withdrawn from the shell while the tortoise head is completely withdrawn from the shell.

Similarities between Turtle and Tortoise

  1. They are both reptiles.
  2. Their bodies are both shielded by shells.
  3. Both can withdraw head and limbs from the shell.
  4. Both are reclusive and shy in nature.

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In Conclusion

Turtles and tortoises are both reptiles. Turtles live in water while tortoise lives on land. They both have a shell that protects them from danger. They can withdraw heads and limbs from the shell. They move slowly due to the heavy shell that they have on their bodies. The main feature that makes turtles different from tortoises is where they live.

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