Tortoise, Santa Cruz

Giant land tortoises on different Galapagos islands have different shell shapes and neck lengths, apparently a response to their different diets.  Where food is sparser and at a greater height, there is a competitive advantage to saddleback shells and longer necks.  In contrast to the usual theme of island species getting smaller, this guy is a pretty good size.

I chose the “pond turtle” (posted earlier this week) and this land tortoise as if they went together, but after posting I began to wonder whether that was true.  Some poking about suggests that they are related – fellow chelonians.

Head shot of giant land tortoise in Galapagos.




  1. Tom Watson

    That’s one big turtle! Those kinds of creatures are amazing to me. There is a CBC TV series that started this week called “David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef.” I missed it, but sure would love to see the series. If it’s anything like his “Planet Earth” series it’s a must-see.

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Tom – While on our trip to the Galapagos, we saw Attenborough’s show on the same – very impressive. Having visited The Reef briefly, I’ll make a point of tracking down that one, too. Professional photography is fabulous.

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