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Difference between Turtle and Tortoise

Turtle and tortoise both are reptiles and belong to the same family, Testudines or Chelonian. Turtles are the reptiles that live in water, whereas tortoises live on land. Although they are closely related, they are different from each other in terms of their size, shape, food habits and behaviour. Let us see how Turtle differs from a tortoise!

Turtle:

Turtles are water-dwelling reptiles. They are mostly found in Africa and America. They spend most of their life in water and come to land only to lay eggs and quickly return to the water after laying eggs leaving behind young hatchlings alone. Their body is streamlined that helps glide easily in water. They have fins, long claws and webbed feet that help them swim more effectively and get a firm grip while climbing onto surfaces or holding debris.

Turtles are omnivorous as they can feed on plants and other small animals like fish, jellyfish, insects, earthworms etc. The average lifespan of a sea turtle is 60 to 70 years. A turtle generally lays 50 to 200 eggs depending on the species of the female turtle.

Tortoise:

Tortoises are land-dwelling reptiles. They live on land and mostly found in Africa, Asia and America. Its shell is rounder, bumpier and heavier than a turtle. It protects them from predators. Their legs are short and sturdy with long claws that help them with digging. They are mostly herbivores, but some species eat insect, fishes etc. The average lifespan of a tortoise is 80 to 150 years. The female tortoise digs burrows to lay eggs and stays with their young hatchlings for around 80 days to provide protection after that the young ones have to survive on their own. Tortoises are herbivores as they feed on a variety of grasses, fruits, flowers etc. A female tortoise lays 1 to 30 eggs depending on the species of the female tortoise.

Based on the above information, some of the key differences between turtle and tortoise are as follows:

Turtle Tortoise
They are land-dwelling reptiles. They are water-dwelling reptiles.
They are mostly found in Africa and America. They are mostly found in Asia and Africa.
Their shell is lighter and more streamlined than the tortoise. It has a bumpier, heavier and dome-shaped shell.
They exclusively live in water, come to land only to lay eggs and quickly return to the water after laying eggs without providing protection to young hatchlings. They prefer to live on land. The mother tortoise stays with young hatchlings for around 80 days in order to provide protection.
Their body is streamlined that helps them swim or glide effectively in the water. Their body is dome-shaped and incredibly sturdy that protects them from predators.
They have fins, webbed-feet and long claws that help them firmly hold debris and climb onto surfaces. They have short, sturdy feet with long claws that help them with digging.
They are omnivores, i.e. they feed on grasses, fish, jellyfish, insects, earthworms. They are herbivores, i.e. they feed on a variety of grasses, fruits, flower, vegetables etc.
They have an average lifespan of 60-70 years. They have an average lifespan of 80-150 years.
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