Top 10 largest turtles in the world
Among the turtles, there are giants and dwarfs. All of them wear their armor with dignity, contemplating the world around them haughtily. Clumsy reptiles are able to adapt to habitat conditions. In the process of evolution, many species have appeared, striking not only in shape, but also in weight, dimensions. Introducing the largest tortoises in the world at the top of our rankings.
10. Snapping turtle (35 cm)
Adults discovered by pioneers in the Cayman Islands wear carapaces up to 35 cm long. Reptiles weigh up to 14 kg. Found in Canada, Central and Eastern states of America. Favorite habitat – the banks of deep rivers with a slow current. Turtles burrow into soft bottom sediments for wintering, raking silt with powerful paws. With a cold snap, giants go into deep hibernation.
Large predators easily bite small fish with beak-like jaws. They catch them, throwing a long neck out of the shell at lightning speed. If fishing is not successful, they feed on carrion. A massive head with protruding eyes, three crestal sawtooth processes on the carapace and a rather long tail are characteristic features of the species.
9. Red-eared turtle (37 cm)
The freshwater red-eared turtle ranked ninth in the ranking of the largest turtles in the world. Females of this species reach 37 cm in their shells by the time they mature. Males are much smaller – up to 20 cm long. Omnivorous reptiles adapt well in captivity. Up to 52 million turtles are officially sold per year. Individuals are able to live in apartment aquariums for up to half a century. They are born small, no more than 3 cm.A year they grow by 5 cm.
Turtles are valued for their decorativeness: variegated coloring in greenish and olive tones, red spots on the sides of the head. They are inactive – they can not change their positions for a long time. In nature, reptiles prefer swampy bodies of water. They can be found on the American continents, in Southeast Asia, warm countries of Europe, in Africa and Australia. They displace other species of turtles from the habitat.
8. Fringed turtle (40 cm)
The fringed turtle grows up to 15 kg and is the eighth largest turtle on the planet. The flattened carapace grows up to 40 cm in length. These turtles have many distinctive features: a snake-like neck and flat legs, overgrown with fringed leathery processes, a flat triangular head, small but keen eyes, small whiskers, grin from ear to ear, sharp claws.
Matamata, as the inhabitants of South America call the turtle, looks like an oblate dragon. She hunts at night. Thanks to the amazing camouflage, the predator is not immediately visible in the muddy water. Gaping fish quickly falls into a wide mouth, immediately ends up in the stomach – toothless matamats. With a lightning throw, it is able to catch a small bird. The reptile prefers river shallow waters with stagnant water. In case of danger, it quickly buries itself in the silt. It hibernates in it.
7. Spurred turtle (75 cm)
The seventh largest scoop in the world for the spurred turtle from Africa. By 20, males gain up to 100 kg of weight, their shell grows up to a meter in length. This species has a kind disposition. The turtles are very beautiful, they look like wax sculptures. They take root well in captivity, but large individuals die. The claws and spurs on the thighs grow back in reptiles by the age of 3 years. Turtles begin to scratch walls, floors, and end up in zoo terrariums.
In nature, desert inhabitants can go without water for a long time, eat mainly plant foods, but can diversify the menu with protein: insects, carrion. In case of danger, the paws and tail are completely hidden, but the head is not included in the “house”. Land giants are ruthlessly exterminated for the sake of a beautiful shell, strong skin, and delicious meat.
6. Arrau (Tartaruga) (1 m)
The giant among freshwater reptiles is the South American river turtle. The egg-shaped shell of large females grows up to a meter long, shield-legged reptiles weigh about 70 kg. Arrau (Tartaruga) live in the basins of the Amazon, Orinoco, Magdalena. Bluish side-necked turtles spend most of the day in the water. Peace-loving – they feed on plant food and insects, sometimes they diversify their diet with chicks and small fish.
Reptiles are active all year round and live in large groups. They are exterminated because of delicious meat and valuable eggs – turtle oil is obtained from them, up to 40 million eggs are processed a year. Turtles have no hearing organs, so they become easy prey for predators and hunters.
5. Seychelles giant tortoise (1.2 m)
The Seychelles land turtle is the fifth largest tortoise in the world. It grows up to 120 cm, the weight of such an individual is up to 250 kg. Reptiles were discovered on the Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean, to preserve the species, they were settled throughout the archipelago, brought to Mauritius, Reunion, and other islands. In captivity, giants can live up to 150 years, in nature no more than 100.
Eats up to 25 kg of food per day, there are more than 20 plants on the menu. In search of leaves, they stand up with their hind legs, create pyramids – climb on top of each other. For reptiles, they choose open grassy areas overgrown with rare shrubs. They are comfortable with mangrove swamps.
Tourists love to feed the peaceful and curious giants with fruits and take pictures next to them.
4. Vulture turtle (1.4 m)
The amphibious vulture turtle is in fourth place in our top list of the largest turtles in the world. Named so for the similarity of the process on the upper jaw with a curved beak. A reptile grows up to 1.5 meters, gaining up to 80 kg. The not thick brown shell is covered with spiny processes, the spiny tail is similar to that of a crocodile. Representatives of this species live in the lakes of North America, in the wetlands of the Mississippi tributaries.
The giant quickly becomes overgrown with algae. Green camouflage helps to hunt in bodies of stagnant water, the turtle can stay at the bottom for up to an hour. This freshwater predator prefers to hunt during the day, luring fish with its open mouth. The narrow red wiggling process on the tongue resembles a worm. In addition to fish, the diet includes snails, crustaceans, turtles, chicks, snakes, worms, caterpillars. In the wild, they live up to 80 years.
3. Green turtle (1.5 m)
Unlocks the top three in our ranking of the largest turtles in the world. The oval shell of a green sea turtle grows up to 2 meters. The giants weigh about 200 kg and live up to 80 years. The name of the reptile was given for the green color of subcutaneous fat, which does not change color during the preparation of soups. Handsome people prefer a secluded lifestyle, they live in the warm waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. They are selected ashore only for laying eggs. Unmistakably follow to the place of birth using the internal navigator.
Massive spotted flippers and the turtle’s head are not drawn into the “house”, the shell is smooth, like a pebble, has a grayish-brown color, does not interfere with gaining speed. In the first years of life, reptiles are omnivorous, with age they switch to a plant menu. The mating season is accompanied by sounds reminiscent of singing.
2. Galapagos elephant turtle (1.8 m)
The Galapagos elephant turtle is not only one of the largest turtles in the world, but also the leader in the weight class among land reptiles. There are individuals up to 400 kg. The length of the shell is up to 180 cm, the life expectancy is up to 200 years. Paws to match the elephant’s legs: the same massive, rough. A long, like a dinosaur’s neck, freely retracts into a huge shell of a convex shape. Giants live in groups, settle in open places near tropical forests or in the savannah.
They are unpretentious to food: they chew everything from grass to shrubs, from fallen fruits to cacti. They adore wild tomatoes, devour poisonous plants without harm to health. Lazy, they like mud baths. They migrate at night and can travel up to 6 km. Very fertile – the female makes two clutches per year.
1. Leatherback turtle (2 m)
The aquatic leatherback turtle is the largest turtle in the world. The length of the oval shell reaches 2 meters, the weight often exceeds half a ton. Predatory Archelon (Loot) lives no more than 30 years. The skin of young individuals is covered with strong shields, they disappear with age. The soft leathery carapace with aerodynamic ridges does not interfere with movement in the water, the range of powerful fins reaches 3 meters.
Inhabitants of tropical latitudes in search of fish swim in cool waters, turtles were met in the Kuril region, the Bering Sea. Reptiles live alone, shy. They have no teeth, but powerful horny jaws are able to bite into large fish that do not enter the mouth entirely.