The Galapagos Giant Turtle (scientific name Chelonoidis nigra) is the largest living species of turtle. Today, they only exist in two different archipelagos: the Galapagos Islands west of Ecuador, and Aldabra in the Indian Ocean to the East of Tanzania. In the wild, these big guys can live 100 years or more! The size and shape of their shells can vary, as noted by Charles Darwin in his 1835 voyage to the Galapagos Islands on The Beagle.
On islands with humid highlands, the Galapagos is seen having a domed shell with a short neck, and are typically larger. On islands with dry lowlands, the tortoises are smaller with shells that are raised in front, and longer necks.
Different Species For Different Islands
As might be expected, different types of Galapagos tortoises inhabit different islands as each has a different environment. The largest island, Isabela Island, hosts five different types including the Volcan Wolf, which is named for a nearby volcano. The island of Pinta hosts a turtle called Lonesome George, who is the last known of the C. Abingdonii species.
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