The most huge turtle - description, features and habitat


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For many, the tortoise is a sweet, calm and small creature. However, the amazing nature and here shows its wonders - these reptiles can grow to gigantic proportions. It turns out that there are many similar reptiles, and they are all listed in the Guinness Book of Records.

The biggest turtle in the world is Archelon. Its weight is 600 kg.

The article presents some of the world's largest turtles existing today in nature.

Record holder among freshwater individuals

The largest among freshwater reptiles is the griffon (alligator) turtle. The biggest turtle (photo in the article) weighs about 75 kilograms with a body length of 140 cm.

  • feeds on fish
  • habitat - United States (southeast),
  • life expectancy - an average of 60 years (with favorable conditions, live to 80),
  • reptile is an active hunter
  • it looks eerily outwardly: a big head with a pointed nose, similar to a beak, and an unpleasant bumpy skin.

It should be noted that the appearance of this turtle is not the worst in it. She is very aggressive and can even bite or severely hurt. Therefore, in America, it was forbidden to breed her at home.

Land giant

The Galapagos tortoise, also called the elephant, is considered to be the absolute record holder of the currently existing species. The size of this biggest turtle is impressive - its body weight is 400 kilograms with a length of 2 meters. There are currently about 11 subspecies, although there were more of them before.

  • long paws and elongated neck,
  • for a long time can live without food
  • preferred delicacy - plants,
  • uses a lot of water
  • lays eggs all year
  • life expectancy - an average of 100 years (there were long-livers, who lived for about 300 years).

The elephant galapagos big turtle lives in the Galapagos Islands. Their peculiarity - they even feed on plants that are considered poisonous.

It should be noted that about three decades ago, this species of turtles was on the verge of extinction, since their meat was a favorite delicacy of sailors from many countries. However, thanks to the efforts of scientists, some subspecies were saved. Today, the number of individuals is about 20 thousand.

The largest individual of the seas and oceans

The leatherback turtle lives in the waters of two oceans: the Atlantic and Pacific. In length, the animal reaches more than two meters with a body weight of 600 kg. This turtle is almost impossible to see, as it rarely rises from the bottom of the ocean.

The turtle living exclusively in water moves in it at a speed of 35 km / h. It swims very rarely to the seashore and only at night. On the land comes only during the laying of eggs.

The main diet is marine life. In the Guinness Book, as noted above, listed one of the representatives of this species, called scientists Archelon. Its length reached more than 4 meters, and its body weight was about 2 tons. This species of the largest turtle got its name because of its unique shell, consisting of small bony plates that resemble scales.

  • can not hide his head under the shell,
  • the shell is not connected with the skeleton,
  • most preferred foods are shellfish, crayfish and fish,
  • The meat of this turtle can be eaten.

Today, this species is on the verge of extinction, and therefore a reserve has been created in the USA. Having such impressive dimensions, lives relatively little - up to 30 years.

Green turtle

This big turtle, the photo of which is presented in the article, is one of the three leaders of giant turtles of the whole world. The length is 150 cm, and the body weight is 200 kg. She got her name because of her olive green body. However, there are dark brown turtles. This species is also an inhabitant of the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. On average, they live 80 years.

Often it is called and soup, due to the fact that its meat is used in the preparation of first courses. Their numbers have declined greatly due to active hunting for them. Today hunting is prohibited on these turtles.

Giant Seychelles turtle

This land reptile is also among the five largest turtles in the world. Average size - 120 cm. Habitat - Aldabra island. You can meet her in places overgrown with shrubs and tall grass. The main food of these giant animals is grassy vegetation. In captivity, they live to 150 years.

The oldest representative of the species is Advaita, a tortoise that has lived for 250 years. It turns out that this species of turtles is not only one of the largest, but also a record one in its longevity.

Turtle Arrau

This tortoise, which lives in Bolivia, Brazil and in other northern states of America, should also be introduced. Arrau is found in freshwater. An adult individual in length reaches an average of more than one meter with a weight of 70 kg.

It feeds on insects and various plants. This species is now actively exploring and studying its life in natural conditions. However, the life expectancy of this turtle is still no information.

Snapping turtle

This species is one of the smallest among the ten largest turtles. Its length reaches only 35 cm. Body weight - 14 kg, however, some of the individuals weigh 30 kg. The species is distributed in Canada and in the USA (Central and Eastern regions). Habitat - freshwater bodies with a large amount of silt, in which turtles are easily buried in the winter for hibernation.

These reptiles are resistant to cold and can move both on ice and under ice. The diet is represented by small inhabitants of the underwater world, including carrion. The snapping turtle in the United States is being hunted, as its meat is edible and popular with locals.

Big red-eared turtle

This is also a variety of freshwater turtles. It is distributed in Mexico and America. The distinctive feature of females is that they are larger than the males, and the length of the shell is 37 cm, while the males are 20 cm. The turtle has red spots on the side of the head, hence its name. The habitat of the animal - dirty and marshy ponds.

The lifestyle of this turtle is sedentary. However, if there is a danger, it reacts rather quickly and disappears. The turtle can easily adapt to life in captivity and, if properly cared for, can live up to 50 years. For its maintenance requires an aquarium of 200 liters.


Not all species of the largest turtles are presented in the article. These include the following: arrau (Tartaruga), sporiferous, fringed. All presented in the article reptiles are among the ten largest turtles.

It turns out that the records are set not only by people, but also by representatives of the animal world. And even among the turtles, seeming at first glance, slow and harmless, there are individuals, looking at which, you can even lose the gift of speech, in the most direct sense. And it is quite real. No wonder some of these animals are included in the book of records.

The biggest turtle in the world

The largest of the living sea turtles is the leatherback turtle, whose body reaches two meters in length and weighs more than 600 kilograms, but individuals weighing more than 900 kilograms have been recorded. They received their name because of the special structure of the shell, which differs in its structure from others in that it consists not of horny plates, but of thick, skin-like layers of skin. The habitat of this species is tropical regions of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. Water for these turtles is a natural environment in which they are almost always and on land, because of their vulnerability, they rise only at night or for laying eggs. According to scientists, the most huge sea turtles live deeply at the bottom of reservoirs and therefore most often remain invisible. Leatherback turtles are now threatened with extinction and are under US protection. But the chance of increasing the population is still great, because in one breeding season the female leatherback turtle can lay up to 700 eggs, whereas the period between seasons varies from one to three years.

Green Sea Turtle

One of the largest representatives of marine specimens, after the leathery one, is the green turtle. The reptile got its name due to the corresponding color. It can be presented from light green to olive, but there is also a dark brown color with light stripes. The largest turtle grows up to one and a half meters in length, and the weight of some individuals reaches from 200 to 500 kilograms. The life span of green turtles is up to 70 years. This turtle is also called soup because of its tasty and tender meat. Due to the fact that the meat and eggs of these individuals are particularly popular, their numbers began to decline significantly, and therefore, in many countries, the hunt for soup turtles is strictly prohibited.

Giant terrestrial turtles

There are a huge variety of land turtles, their main habitat is desert and savanna, but there are species that prefer a humid tropical climate. Ground turtles differ from marine relatives by their clumsiness and sluggishness, their shell being their main defense against enemies. The largest tortoises living on land are the elephant and the giant.

Elephant (Galapagos) tortoise

The habitat of this species of reptiles is limited only by the Galapagos Islands. In connection with the threat of extinction of the ivory turtle, a reserve was opened on the islands, and this species of reptile is protected by UNESCO. Reducing the number of turtles contributed to the use of human turtle meat for cooking, as well as the importation into the habitat of alien animals. The main danger for turtles is represented by goats, who punch the reptile's shell with their hoofs and feed on their meat. Galapagos turtles can grow up to two meters in length and weigh more than 400 kilograms. Their main difference from other species - elongated legs and neck. The life span of these huge turtles reaches 170 years.

Giant (Seychelles) turtle

The gigantic tortoise is considered the rarest among the terrestrial and lives exclusively on the island of Aldabra in the Indian Ocean. Atoll Aldabra belongs to the state of Seychelles, hence the second name of this type of reptile. They grow to about 120 centimeters in length and weigh up to 300 kilograms. Among these individuals, the largest representative was found - a huge turtle named Goliath. His body is 130 centimeters in length and weighs more than 380 kilograms. These turtles feed mainly on plant food and sometimes live to 200 years of age. Have a high level of endurance, and are able to do without food from a few weeks to a year. There is even a story about how, thanks to the Seychelles turtles, ancient seafarers did not die of starvation during their expeditions, stuffing the full holds with walking "canned goods". Also, in the females of these turtles, the ability to regulate the population size is noted, the density of which determines the number of eggs laid by it.

Red-eared turtle

One of the most popular types of waterfowl, which is grown at home. An unpretentious pet is kept in an aquarium, and in return it pleases its owner with its unique color. The turtle feels comfortable both in water and on land. The habitat in the wild - shallow ponds and marshes in Europe, Asia and North Africa. They come from the eastern part of North America. Under natural conditions, they hibernate for a short time, at home, while maintaining a comfortable temperature, they can easily do without it. The adaptation period in red-eared turtles does not affect the reproduction process; young are born about 3 centimeters in size. The individual grows during the first ten years of life. The size of the largest red-eyed turtle reaches a maximum of 50 centimeters, but this length is mainly characteristic of turtles living in the wild. At home, they can grow to a maximum of 30-32 centimeters, depending on how they are looked after.

Why dream of a huge turtle?

A tortoise in a dream is the embodiment of goals and ongoing unfinished business, and how they are completed, it already depends on the accompanying phenomena. A turtle in clean, clear water will mean a successful development of events and the implementation of plans. If the animal is in the mud or entangled in seaweed - this suggests that you will need to make a lot of effort to get what you want, the chance of success is small. When a tortoise dreams, immersed in an aquarium, this dream can be interpreted as an obstacle or a misunderstanding on the part of people around or close people. Inverted animal may portend trouble from the machinations of competitors. A huge turtle will be a harbinger of an increase or sudden profit.

For a young girl to see a turtle in a dream may indicate the appearance in the life of a loved one, and for a married woman - a gift from a loved one, may also promise an addition to the family in the near future. To dream of a turtle in your own house foreshadows a calm and happy family life.

The largest freshwater turtle in the world

The weight of the griffon, or alligator turtle (Macroclemys temminckii), often exceeds 75 kg with an average body length of 1.5 m.

The life expectancy of the inhabitant of the southeastern United States is more than 60 years, and the diet of this active hunter is represented by fish.

The reptile has a frightening appearance: a big head, a bumpy skin and a pointed nose, similar to a bird's beak.

The largest marine individual

The mass of an adult leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is about 500 kg with an average body length of around 250 cm.

A large inhabitant of predominantly southern seas prefers to hunt such aquatic inhabitants as crayfish, mollusks and fish.

The shell of leatherback turtles has no connection with the skeleton, and the distinctive specific feature of such reptiles is the inability to hide their heads under the shell.

All the largest turtles in the world are listed in the Guinness Book of Records.

Archelon (Archelon ischyros)

Body length: 4.6 meters

This turtle is not only the largest, but also the most ancient turtle, ever living representatives of this species on Earth. The fossil remains of Arhelon are found in sediments of the Cretaceous period. This individual of turtles belongs to the extinct Cretaceous family Protostegidae, and is a relative of the modern leatherback turtles.

The size of the turtle is truly impressive. The total length of the specimens found is 4.6 meters, and the weight could reach 2.2 tons. The scope of the fins of Archelon was 5 meters. The turtle could have been in the deep sea for a long time, and only slightly emerged to the surface to inhale air.

The remains of the turtle are very well preserved. This is due, primarily, to the lifestyle of Archelon, who was in the habit of digging deep into the mud of the sea bottom. The turtle thus hibernates.

The first description of the appearance and lifestyle of Arhelon was produced in 1896. Despite the sailors' testimony of meeting with giant turtles, which they say is 12 meters, scientists can not find traces of the life of Archeolon on the ground. Evidence that this species is not extinct, could serve as eggs, because sea turtles lay eggs on land. But today there is not a single confirmation of the life of Archelon in the modern animal world.

Miolania (Meiolania)

Body length: 5 meters

MIOLANIA is the most appropriate name for turtles. Translated from the ancient Greek language, this means "I wander."

This species of turtles died out approximately 2 thousand years ago, having existed in nature for 23.5 million years. Miyaniya reached 5 meters in length, although the shell is relatively small, only 2.5 meters.

These representatives of large turtles lived in Australia and New Caledonia, where animal skeletons were found. The closest relative can be considered modern covert turtles, which have chosen the habitat of South America.

The appearance of the turtle was quite menacing. On the head there were two horns, because of which the skull was almost 60 centimeters long, the tail was protected by armored rings, and also had spikes on the end.

Arrau (Podocnemis expansa)

Body length: up to 110 centimeters

Tartaruga, as this turtle is also called, belongs to the family of gigantic side-tail turtles. Mostly these turtles live in South America, on the warm coasts of the Pacific and part of the Atlantic Ocean.

A large turtle, reaching sizes from 80 cm to 1.10 meters and weighing 70 kg, lived in the coast in ancient times. A relatively large head on a thin neck. There are two outgrowths at the bottom of the head, and a longitudinal groove between the eyes. Shell without projections, egg-shaped.

Индейские племена Амазонки с древнейших времен использовали яйца Аррау для получения масла, а также употребляли в пищу варенные и жареные яйца. Со временем стали поставлять мясо черепах в США и другие страны.

Европейцы открыли науке и миру этот вид черепахи в 1812 году. Отметим, что при таких внушительных размерах, все черепахи Аррау употребляют в пищу только растения.

Бахромчатая черепаха (Chelus fimbriatus)

Длина тела: до 50 сантиметров

Крупная пресноводная черепаха, которая относится к семейству змеиношеих черепах, имеет ряд других наименований: мата-мата или матамата. But note that this tortoise is not distinguished in the animal diversity of species. Fringed turtle has a peculiar and original appearance. The head is slightly flattened and has a triangular, bizarre shape. The neck and head of matamats are studded with small thorns, which gives the tortoise a threatening look.

The tortoise shell reaches 40 cm and also has an unusual shape with serrated edges and three longitudinal keels, at the ends of which are located cone-shaped bumps. The mass of adults reaches 15 kg.

The habitat of a turtle was chosen by the lake and zatoka in the north of South America. You can meet this view from the Orinoco river basin to the Amazon and its tributaries. The development of impassable forests of South America reduces the habitat of the Fringed Turtle, which naturally leads to a reduction in the population.

Vulture turtle (Macroclemys temminckii)

Body length: up to 150 centimeters

The griffon tortoise is the only species of turtles of the Macroclemys family. When you meet her in the wild, you can easily confuse her with a cayman turtle, they are so alike. But the griffon turtle is much larger, has a number of differences. The eyes are located on the sides of the head, and the shell has a number of sawtooth teeth in the form of a single crest.

The turtle is one of the large turtles. The length of adult individuals reaches 1.5 meters, and weight - 60 kg. Freshwater turtle due to its impressive size and appearance was nicknamed "Dinosaur".

Liveshead turtle in the southeastern United States. Mostly found in the Mississippi River basin.

The main feed is fish. To hunt a turtle in an original way. She digs into the bottom silt of the reservoir and motionlessly waits for her victim, sticking out only the reddish tongue that acts as bait.

Taking care of the offspring, the Griffon turtle tears a half-meter hole into which it lays its eggs.

Giant tortoise (Megalochelys gigantea)

Body length: up to 105 centimeters

The gigantic tortoise or the Seychelles giant tortoise is a rather rare species of land animal.

The gigantic tortoise is endemic, that is, a species of animal with a very limited habitat. Giant turtles can be found only near the island of Aldabra in the Indian Ocean.

The gigantic turtle fully meets its name. Powerful column-shaped legs, a relatively small head, and a powerful shell. The adult turtle reaches a length of 105 cm and weighs 250-300 kg. Difference from other turtles is a spherical, high shell. Because of him, the growth of the turtle is 60-80 cm.

These are long-lived turtles. Some representatives live to 150 years. In 2006, the oldest representative of this species of turtles, who was about 250 years old, died.

Having a small habitat, the turtle, thus, limited itself in the choice of food, eating only the dwarf vegetation of the island. This leads to a reduction in the population. At present, scientists number about 16,000 individuals. To save turtles from extinction on the island of Aldabra, large-scale construction and vigorous economic activity are prohibited. There is also a partial shooting of wild goats, which are competitors for Seychelles turtles in food.

On the island in order to study the behavior of turtles open research center. A gigantic turtle adorns the coat of arms of Seychelles.

Elephant Turtle (Chelonoidis elephantopus)

Body length: up to 190 centimeters

More known as the Galapagos tortoise is the largest representative of the land tortoise.

The elephant turtle reaches a weight of more than 400 kg, and the length of individual turtles is 1.9 meters. Turtle and record holder in life expectancy among all vertebrates on earth. In nature can live more than a hundred years. A case was recorded in captivity when the Galapagos tortoise lived to an age of 170 years.

As the name implies, these giant tortoises chose the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific as their habitat.

Interestingly, the shape of some of the islands resemble the shape of the shell of their turtles. To settle on the islands, the ancestors of the Galapagos tortoise overcame more than 1000 km, sailing to the islands from the shores of South America.

Unfortunately, this is an endangered species. From the XVI century to the second half of the twentieth century, their numbers decreased 230 times, and in 1970 amounted to only 3000 individuals. Zoologists around the world conducted a series of activities to increase the number of these turtles. At the beginning of the XXI century Galapagos turtles are already more than 1900. But still, they are listed in the category as a vulnerable species.

Turtles of this species have chosen to feed plants and shrubs that are poisonous to other animals, thus removing competitors in the food chain in a peculiar way.


As you can see, turtles are unique and unique animals. Not for nothing, in the most ancient ideas of man about the Earth, the turtle was the main character. She swam in the endless ocean, on its shell are three elephants, which kept the earth. These people expressed respect for the oldest animal on earth, bowing to the strength and power of turtles.

Most of the peoples of antiquity and the early Middle Ages deified turtles. For many Native American tribes, they were totem, sacred animals.

In modern conditions, zoologists face acute tasks of preserving certain species of turtles, increasing their population. Interestingly, many species of turtles easily adapt to the conditions of captivity and have become real pearls of many of the world's zoos and national reserves. It is noteworthy that without experiencing difficulties in obtaining food and fenced from external enemies, turtles live in captivity sometimes longer than in natural conditions.