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Tortoises: Testudinidae

Physical Characteristics

Tortoises are small- to large-sized, land-living turtles. Most of them have a tall upper shell, or carapace (KARE-a-pays). Their back legs are thick and somewhat resemble the legs of an elephant. The front legs, on the other hand, are rather flat and covered with large scales. Their toes have no webbing between them, and many species have five claws on each front foot. The largest members of this family can weigh as much as 562 pounds (255 kilograms) and have upper shells that grow to 4 feet 7 inches (1.4 meters) long. Some of them have a hinge in the carapace or in the lower shell, which is called the plastron (PLAS-trun).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesTortoises: Testudinidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Tortoises And People, Conservation Status, GalÁpagos Tortoise (geochelone Nigra): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET