18 Different Types of Tortoises

Different Types of Tortoises
Photo by Aron Visuals

Tortoises are the best pets around! They are easy to care for and don’t need exercise (besides the occasional walk on their own time). And there are many different types of tortoises. 

If you’re interested in getting a tortoise as a pet, it’s important to do your research first to know exactly what to expect.

After thorough research, we have been able to come out with the following different types of tortoises;

1. Speckled Tortoise

Though there are many different types of tortoises, there are a few specific ones that you should be aware of. The Speckled Tortoise (Testudo graeca) is one type. It is found in North Africa and Arabia. 

They can grow up to about 30 cm long, with a 45 cm diameter shell. They live for about 100 years and are the slowest type of tortoise, with an average speed of 1 km per hour.

2. Sulcata Tortoise

The Sulcata tortoise is a species native to west Africa, and they are also found in Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin, and Chad. These massive creatures can weigh as much as 350 pounds, and their average lifespan is 90 years! 

Meanwhile, male Sulcatas will grow larger than females, so if you’re looking for a pe,t make sure you know which one you want.

While Sulcatas come in many colors, some common types include gray, brown, tan, and cream, with dark markings on the shell.

Also, they need a large habitat that includes a shady area where they can stay cool during the hot summer months and an area where they can get shade from over-exposure to sunlight during hotter months.

3. Egyptian Tortoise

The Egyptian tortoise is one of the largest different types of tortoise, with adults reaching about 18-20 inches in length.

They have an elongated dome shape and a flattened shell. Their carapace can be light brown, dark brown, or black with some golden specks. 

In addition, these different types of tortoises prefer dry climates and should never be soaked in water for too long, or they may suffer from a respiratory infection. The diet consists mostly of grasses, flowers, and palm leaves found in their natural habitat. 

Furthermore, they live up to 50 years old and reach maturity at 5-6 years old, when they can start reproducing once a year in warm areas. In cooler regions, they do not reproduce as often but will lay clutches every 4-5 years.

4. Radiated Tortoise

The Radiated tortoise (also known as Astrochelys radiata) is a tortoise native to Madagascar and the Aldabra Islands.

They are usually found in habitats with plenty of trees, shrubs, and grassy areas. Adult Radiated tortoises are around 14-19 inches long from their head to their tail and weigh between 8-20 pounds. 

These different types of tortoises have beautiful colors on their shells. However, this depends on where they live because different species share the same habitat.

Also, Their colors range from yellow, green, white, orange, red, or brown colors. Unlike most tortoises who like moist environments, Radiated tortoises love semi-arid climates with lots of scrublands.

5. Leopard Tortoise

One of the most popular different types of tortoise is the Leopard tortoise. They come in various sizes, with males usually larger than females.

A mature male can grow up to 10 inches and weigh 20 pounds, while a female can get as big as 9 inches and weigh 5 pounds. 

As with all reptiles, leopard tortoises are cold-blooded or ectothermic, which means they cannot regulate their own body temperature.

They must be kept outside and not indoors because they require warmth through light and heat sources. Like bulbs, fixtures, rocks, or even a hot water bottle wrapped in cloth. 

If a Leopard tortoise has lost its tail at some point, it will always grow another but never back to full length.

6. Russian Tortoise

Despite its name, this species can be found in parts of Asia. In addition to taking the heat well, they are one of the most resilient types of tortoises, as they can handle even colder temperatures than many other tortoise varieties. 

Plus, they have quite a long lifespan and lay eggs up to five times a year. As such, you should consider adopting or buying one if you’re looking for a fairly active, easy-to-maintain pet.

7. Greek Tortoise

The Greek tortoise is a very beautiful tortoise and can be seen with black and yellow stripes. These different types of tortoises live for about 100 years and grow as big as 12 inches long. 

Also, there are other subspecies like Algyroides agassizii, Agrypnies klauberi, Manouria emys pleura, Testudo graeca ibera, and Testudo horsfieldii.

They will eat various things, mainly weeds, grasses, flowers, and shrubs. Unlike many other cold-blooded reptiles, these tortoises have internal heat.

So their body temperature never drops below 75 degrees Fahrenheit on their own, even if it’s snowing outside.

8. Hermann’s Tortoise

With a lifespan of about 100 years, Hermann’s tortoise is one species that needs a lot of space and gets along with other species.

With soft, large scales and brown or yellow coloring, it blends in well among most foliage. Meanwhile, don’t be fooled by their shy nature.

When threatened, these different types of tortoises will often attack with claws and head butting with the strength needed to knock over a person. So if you happen to spot one outside your home or yard, leave it alone!

9. Pancake Tortoise

The Pancake Tortoise (Manouria emys) is a species of tortoise found on the Malaysian island of Borneo. They live in the swampy forest and mangrove swamps, hence their unusually flattened shell.

These different types of tortoises-Pancake tortoises- are small for a tortoise. Adults reach an average size of only 10 inches long by 4 inches high and weigh only 3-5 pounds. Females produce one egg at a time and typically lay 1-2 eggs yearly.

10. Gopher Tortoise

A species of tortoise belonging to the Testudinidae family is the gopher tortoise (Gopherus Polyphemus). The Southeast of the United States is the species’ natural habitat.

Because it creates tunnels that shelter at least 360 other species of animals, the gopher tortoise is considered a keystone species.

Tortoises come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. The two main groups are those with hard shells, called Terrapene, and those without, called Testudines. 

11. Hingeback Tortoise

The Hingeback tortoise is a small, plump animal that originates from Sub-Saharan Africa. These different types of tortoises move around by using their fat tail as pivot points and scooting themselves along with their legs. 

This type of movement has earned them the nickname slider. These animals don’t usually spend too much time on land as they have evolved to live in and off water plants. Most of their diet consists of water plants, fruits, worms, and larvae when possible.

12. Indian Star Tortoise

The Indian Star Tortoise is one of two native tortoise species in Sri Lanka. This tortoise can be found on the island’s southwestern side, especially in dry scrubby areas and areas where palm trees grow.

They are also found near streams and often lay their eggs there. The size varies depending on a diet, with an average weight between 5 kgs and 6 kgs.

Coloration is generally light brown, dark brown, or black, with red around a blotch on each scute (shell plate). These colors darken when they reach adulthood which happens at around 25 years old.

13. Elongated Tortoise

This is also one of the different types of tortoises. The elongated tortoise is a hardy, terrestrial species that can live in sandy or rocky areas. They are native to Africa and Madagascar. The elongated tortoise is typically dark brown with yellowish markings. 

This species has been nicknamed spiral because they curl up in the sand with their shells tightly wound around themselves like a spiral staircase.

It can take about 15-25 years for an elongated tortoise to grow from being just 3 inches long as a hatchling to 20 inches long!

Their main predator is humans, who often sell them on as pets – sometimes due to a lack of space in zoos – but stop taking care of them when they outgrow their tanks.

14. Desert Tortoise

The desert tortoise has adapted over time to thrive in dry, hot environments and lives primarily in California. These turtles grow slower than most other species and live much longer, with a life expectancy of 100 years! 

Additionally, they are one of only two species that can inhabit a burrow for six months or more at a time to escape the at and lack of food.

Their shells provide an excellent solar shield by reflecting radiation off themselves and their surroundings so that they are not overheated during daylight hours. 

15. Red-Footed Tortoise

Red-footed tortoises are small, stocky turtles that get their name from the reddish color on their front toes. Red-footed tortoises are found in southern and central Africa in grasslands, open scrub, and bush areas. 

These different types of tortoises eat fruit from plants or bushes and various types of grass. Red-footed tortoise eggs incubate in temperatures between 78 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit for around 100 days.

16. Marginated Tortoise

The Marginated tortoise is a tortoise species living in central Africa. It’s found in countries like Congo, the Central African Republic, Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Cameroon. 

The Marginated tortoise is about 22 inches long and can weigh up to 100 pounds, with males being larger than females. It has strong legs, feet, and powerful jaws, making it a predator against small mammals like rodents or birds. 

They are different types of tortoises that feed primarily on plants. They also have been observed eating carrion when there is an abundance during their active season.

This animal has a lifespan between 50-100 years old, making it the longest-living animal on earth besides the plant.

17. Burmese Star Tortoise

The Burmese Star Tortoise, or Geochelone Platynota, is also known as an Asian star tortoise. These turtles are considered a threatened species due to their limited habitat and hunting for food.

They can grow up to 20 inches long and live up to 150 years old in captivity. It’s a subspecies of turtle that you might see in Southeast Asia, specifically Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

18. Yellow Foot Tortoise

The yellow foot tortoise is one of the different types of tortoise. The name comes from a yellow spot on each hind foot that appears when they grow in size.

They’re native to Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and parts of El Salvador. Some people think that these tortoises are part of their own species.

However, their ancestor was actually a member of other genera, such as Chelonoidis, China, or Gopherus, which have since gone extinct in many places. 

These creatures typically live 20-30 years in captivity if they’re allowed to mature naturally. But can be kept for up to 50 years with good care and veterinary support.


There are many different types of tortoises. While you might think they’re all related to each other because they share some obvious physical characteristics, they aren’t closely related. 

In fact, not only are they not closely related, they’re not even really in the same family tree! Happy reading 

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