Well, we can explain the difference between turtle and tortoise in many ways (as we have just mentioned below). Let’s get started by mentioning a characteristic and then labeling them with turtle or tortoise or whatever that is.
A Tortoise belongs to Chelonian family and it is a land-dwelling reptile. On the other hand, A Turtle also belongs to Chelonian family but it is a water-dwelling reptile.
The taxonomic difference between turtle and tortoise can also be described by mentioning their kingdom and by talking about their appearance. Scientifically speaking, we can arrange the mentioned species into the following categories.
Kingdom, Class, and Phylum:
Both of them belongs to the same Kingdom, Class, and Phylum but still, there are some major difference between turtle and tortoise. Kingdom of both species is Animalia while the Class to which they belong is Reptilia and the Phylum is Chordata.
Order and Sub-order:
This image shows how tortoise looks.
Well, scientifically, both look different but still they are listed in the same order if we talk about the order of turtle and tortoise. Namely, the order is “Testudines”. The major difference between the turtle and tortoise comes when we consider ‘sub-order’ the main part. The tortoise differs with the turtle because it has one more sub-order called the ‘Pleurodira’ other than that of Cryptodira.
The difference between turtle and tortoise can also be examined by their scientific names. Chelonia Mydas is scientific name of the turtle while Aldabrachelys gigantea is scientific name of a tortoise.
Distribution and Habitat:
According to Wikipedia, Turtles are mostly found in America and Africa. All species of turtle mostly found in the aquatic environment or coastal areas of ocean and seas. While the tortoise is mostly found in Africa and Asia some of the species of the tortoise also found in America and as they are terrestrial, thus they live on land.
The difference between the turtle and tortoise can also be guessed from their shells. The shell of the turtle are divided into two portions:
- Carapace: The dorsal portion of the shell is said to be carapace. The formation of the carapace is due to the fusion of vertebrae, ribs, and bones of the dermal layer of the skin.
- Plastron: The central portion of the shell is said to be plastron. The plastron is formed due to the pectoral girdle and dermal bone.
The tortoise can hide inside the shell while turtle can’t do so. The shell of the tortoise is also divided into two portions; carapace and plastron. The pectoral and pelvic girdles are inside, rather than the outside of the ribcage of the plastron.
The following image shows how a turtle looks like.
Teeth and Mode of Nutrition:
Turtles have razor sharp jaws. Teeth are absent in adults. They have Keratinized beak. If we talk about their daily intake, that depends on the nature of their class. They are carnivores, omnivores, herbivores, so they eat what their mentioned class eats.
The tortoise lack teeth and they are usually herbivores, but some species of tortoise are omnivores.
The difference between turtle and tortoise can be observed from the life span of turtle and tortoise. Most turtles reach sexual maturity after seven or eight years. The actual life span of turtles is 20 to 40 years. The oldest turtle lifespan recorded was about 86 years old.
The average life span of tortoise is about 80 to 150 years. The longest living tortoise recorded is about 326 years old.