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Galapagos Tortoise
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Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Reptilia
Order
Testudines
Family
Testudinae
Genus
Chelonoidis
Species
C. nigra
Status
Vulnerable
Biome
Shore


The Galápagos Tortoise, or Galápagos Giant Tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra,) is the largest living species of tortoise and the 13th-heaviest living reptile, reaching weights of over 400 kg (880 lb) and lengths of over 1.8 meters (5.9 ft). With life spans in the wild of over 100 years, it is one of the longest-lived vertebrates. A captive individual lived at least 170 years.

DescriptionEdit

The tortoises have a large bony carapace (shell) of a dull brown colour. The plates of the shell are fused with the ribs in a rigid protective structure that is integral to the skeleton. Lichens can grow on the shells of these slow-moving animals. Tortoises keep a characteristic scute (shell segment) pattern on their shell throughout life, though the annual growth bands are not useful for determining age because the outer layers are worn off with time. A tortoise can withdraw its head, neck and forelimbs into its shell for protection. The legs are large and stumpy, with dry scaly skin and hard scales. The front legs have five claws, the back legs four.

DistributionEdit

The tortoise is native to seven of the Galápagos Islands, a volcanic archipelago about 1,000 km (620 mi) west of the Ecuadorian mainland. Spanish explorers, who discovered the islands in the 16th century, named them after the Spanish galápago, meaning tortoise.

BehaviorEdit

The tortoises are ectothermic (cold-blooded) and therefore bask for 1–2 hours after dawn to absorb the sun's heat through their dark shells before actively foraging for 8–9 hours a day. They travel mostly in the early morning or late afternoon between resting and grazing areas. They have been observed to walk at a speed of 0.3 kilometres per hour (0.2 mph). On the larger and more humid islands, the tortoises seasonally migrate between low elevations, which become grassy plains in the wet season, and meadowed areas of higher elevation (up to 2,000 ft (610 m)) in the dry season. The same routes have been used for many generations, creating well-defined paths through the undergrowth known as "tortoise highways". On these wetter islands, the domed tortoises are gregarious and often found in large herds, in contrast to the more solitary and territorial disposition of the saddleback tortoises. Tortoises sometimes rest in mud wallows or rain-formed pools, which may be both a thermoregulatory response during cool nights, and a protection from parasites such as mosquitoes and ticks. Parasites are countered by taking dust baths in loose soil. Some tortoises have been noted to shelter at night under overhanging rocks. Others have been observed sleeping in a snug depression in the earth or brush called a "pallet". Local tortoises using the same pallet sites, such as on Volcán Alcedo, results in the formation of small sandy pits.

Preferred ObjectsEdit

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Animals
Basic
African Elephant - African Lion - Bald Eagle - Bengal Tiger - Cheetah - Chimpanzee - Duck-billed Platypus - Galapagos Tortoise - Giant Anteater - Giant Panda - Gray Wolf - Greater Flamingo - Grizzly Bear - Hippopotamus - Honey Badger - Komodo Dragon - Mountain Gorilla - Orangutan - Ostrich - Plains Zebra - Polar Bear - Red Kangaroo - Reticulated Giraffe - Saltwater Crocodile - Siberian Tiger - Superb Lyrebird - Thompson's Gazelle - Warthog - White-headed Capuchin - White Rhinoceros
Aquatic
Atlantic Giant Squid - Atlantic Sailfish - Australian Pelican - Beluga - Bottlenose Dolphin - Bull Shark - California Sea Lion - Emperor Penguin - Giant Pacific Octopus - Goliath Grouper - Great White Shark - Green Sea Turtle - Harp Seal - Japanese Spider Crab - Leatherback Sea Turtle - Lion's Mane Jellfish - Manta Ray - Marine Iguana - Mimic Octopus - Narwhal - Northern Elephant Seal - Orca - Sea Otter - Smooth Hammerhead Shark - Tiger Shark - Walrus - Wandering Albatross - West Indian Coelacanth - West Indian Manatee - Whale Shark
Extinct
Allosaurus - Ankylosaurus - Archelon - Archeopteryx - Brontosaurus - Carnotaurus - Ceratosaurus - Deinosuchus - Dodo - Dunkleosteus - Gigantopithecus - Glyptodon - Ichthyosaur - Megatherium - Moa - Oviraptor - Pachycephalosaurus - Parasaurolophus - Plesiosaurus - Quetzalcoatlus - Smilodon - Spinosaurus - Stegosaurus - Styracosaurus - Thylacine - Triceratops - Tyrannosaurus Rex - Velociraptor - Woolly Mammoth - Woolly Rhinoceros
Mythical
Ahool - Black Dog - Bunyip - Chupacabra - Death Worm - Dover Demon - Drop Bear - Eastern Dragon - El Cuero - European Dragon - Fiji Mermaid - Hodag - Jackalope - Jersey Devil - Kappa - Loch Ness Monster - Loveland Frogman - Manticore - Mokele-Mbembe - Mothman - Nightcrawler - Northwest Tree Octopus - Ogopogo - Phoenix - Sasquatch - Sea Monk - Sea Serpent - Thunderbird - Unicorn - Yeti
Characters
Zookeeper Zane - Cheeko
Types of Items
Buildings - Plants - Attractions - Paths - Fences - Decorations - Animal Food - Enrichment - Shelter (Exhibit)
Biomes
Alpine (Biome) - Boreal Forest (Biome) - Desert (Biome) - Open Ocean (Biome) - Plains (Biome) - Rainforest (Biome) - Reef (Biome) - Savanna (Biome) - Shore (Biome) - Swamp (Biome) - Temperate Forest (Biome) - Tundra (Biome)
Modes
Tutorial Mode - Task Mode - Sandbox Mode (Keeper Mode - God Mode)

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