differences between turtle and tortoise

12 Differences Between Turtle And Tortoise It’s Not as Difficult as You Think

Difference Between Turtle And Tortoise: It is difficult to identify the difference between a turtle and a tortoise. They have some similarities, which make people think they are one and the same creature. In this article, we will discuss 12 differences between turtle and tortoise.

Kinds of Turtles

There are few differences between tortoise and turtles. The most obvious difference is the size. Tortoise are huge and weigh up to 60 pounds while heaviest turtle is only 8 pounds! A tortoise would be scientifically classified as a chelonian while turtle would be a terrapin or other water-based species.

Both turtles and tortoises have a hard outer shell made entirely of keratin which needs to grow creating streaks of color.

Basic Differences Between Turtles and Tortoise

A common misconception about the turtle and tortoise is that the turtle lives in the water, but this isn’t true. The tortoise lives mostly on land, but can also live in humid areas with lots of groundwater such as marshes and swamps. The shell of a tortoise is more dome-shaped than a turtle shell which has a noticeable keel shape.

What is the Difference between Sea Turtle and Freshwater Turtle?

Did you know that there are sea turtles, as opposed to freshwater turtles? Freshwater turtles live in some ponds, rivers and lakes. They usually don’t stray very far from the water so they tend to be pretty stationary. You definitely won’t find them living on the beach with their feet itching to swim in the ocean.

How to Tell the Difference between Freshwater Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle, and Padmatchera?

The most obvious difference between the turtle and tortoise is that the turtle’s shell is fused with its backbone, therefore it cannot retract into a ball like a tortoise. The nutritional differences are that turtles are carnivorous or omnivores, while tortoises tend to be herbivorous. The most common way to tell what type of turtle it is, is by examining its skin. For example, the head of a loggerhead can turn red when angry or excited. The gopher turtle has raised scales on their head, which hold wedges from their prey in them (this helps identify if they have been eating).


Different Types of Turtles – by Location

There are many different types of turtles, with each living in a specific type of region. One example of this is the map turtle. These turtles seem to like it best in the northern regions and move south as it gets hotter over the course of the year. Red-eared sliders also come from a warm climate and head for cooler regions when spring comes around.

The physical difference between turtle and tortoise

There is a myth that turtle and tortoise mean the same thing because they use to be incorrectly used interchangeably. They are in fact two different creatures, but they’re close enough so we’ll explore their differences.

Turtles have shorter necks and legs than tortoises do. Their feet are webbed like other aquatic animals such as otters, ducks, and whales. Turtles also cannot pull their head and feet completely inside of their shell due to their long necks, while tortoises can easily do both.

I hope this article helped you understand the difference between turtle and tortoise better!

5 difference between turtle and tortoise

Many people get confused with the differences between a turtle and a tortoise. Though they’re both reptiles, they belong to different families of animals. The most prominent difference is that tortoises come from Africa and South America while turtles come from North America and Asia. Another distinguishing feature is that their shell shapes are usually different – turtles usually have domed shells while tortoises have more boxy shells.

The difference between a turtle and tortoise can be confusing, these animals share some of the same key physical characteristics. For example, both are from the testudine family; they have an outer shell called a carapace made up of fused, bony plates and their body is protected by scutes that are like plate fragments. The 2 animals also share a habitat preference for land but there are some notable differences to consider in order to determine which one you’re seeing.

Strictly speaking, turtles generally live in water, understand as aquatic turtles. Tortoises, on the other hand typically live on land and in dryer environments like grasslands.

Turtles have a crack in their shell referred to as a plastron while tortoises do not; this trait serves as the distinguishing feature.

The 3rd distinguishing aspect is size; tortoises can grow larger than turtles with those living among grasses measuring 13 inches at most while some of the largest turtle species reach 36 inches long including their shells. Turtles vary though so it’s difficult to say two specific sizes represent them all.

Turtles and tortoises might share some similarities but only when you look at their evolutionary past

Lastly, tortoises tend to

A tortoise is usually a lot bigger and slower than a turtle. They also live in different habitats. A turtle lives in water while a tortoise lives on land. Tortoises can’t retract their heads and legs into their shell like a turtle can.


After reading this post, you may decide that turtles are smarter than tortoises and with good reason. You should keep in mind that the heat sensitive pore on a tortoise’s skin close after being in the sun for awhile or from a few days of rain. Some adults get as long as 28 inches long. These differences might just help you make your pets’ day when you’re cleaning their litter box!

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