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THE LEOPARD TORTOISE

21 November 2013

www.leopard.tvThere often is confusion about the terms turtle and tortoise. According to the Oxford Dictionary of British English, a tortoise is a slow-moving land-living reptile with a bony shell while its relative the turtle is a marine or freshwater reptile with a bony or leathery shell, and webbed toes. Both these names have their roots in the same Middle English names tortu or tortuce which were derived from the Old French word tortue and the Spanish word tortuga. To confuse matters more some turtles are known as tortoises in Australia.

The tortoises fall under the Phylum Chordata or vertebrate animals and are cousins of the crocodiles, lizards and snakes in the Class Reptilia. The tortoises are all members of the family Testudidae. They are shielded from predators by having a hard external shell that develops from their ribs and is still attached to them and their toes are never webbed. The... (To see and read more become a Green subscriber)

 

Reference:

Alexander, G and J Marais 2010. A guide to the reptiles of southern Africa, third impression. Cape Town: Struik Nature, pp 386 - 388.

article by: Prof J du P Bothma

 

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