Explore The History of Tortoises January 8, 2019Uncategorizedadmin We see giant tortoises in the zoo and we know that a lot of people keep tortoises as pets, even the bigger breeds. When we hear about the history or tortoises, we look to realize that these are incredibly ancient animals which have been around long before the people that keep them captive and will likely be here long after we’re gone. This detail alone makes the tortoise such a fascinating animal to research and observe. Today, we know that they feel at home both on land and in water, for the most part. We all know what they look like: stubby legs, slow-moving, hard shell, etc.. But what have tortoises been through in their millions of years in existence? That’s what we’re here to learn. Let’s begin at the beginning. During the times of development, tortoises were among the species that partially made their way from the water and went back and forth between land and sea during their development. Exclusively marine tortoises went extinct about 200 million years ago but the traces of turtles as we understand it stay. During the Triassic Period, we see the body of the tortoise take its familiar form. From here on out, the body remains largely unchanged. Although the evolution of the turtle may be a simple one to follow, unlike the snake’s for example, there are still missing links and the anticipated gigantism of most prehistoric animals during the mesozoic and cenozoic eras. Can you imagine a giant tortoise roaming around, eating both giant plants? Paleontologists can not seem to pinpoint the exact prehistoric family that modern turtles evolved out of, but they are able to say with confidence that it wasn’t the placodonts, as was previously believed. In Hinduism, Vishnu is half-man, half-tortoise and sat at the bottom of the ocean floor after a excellent mythical flood. In Ancient Greece, the tortoise is a symbol for the Greek God, Hermes. In Ancient China, turtle shells were used to make their predictions. Today, it is possible to find tortoises living in different areas of the world, growing to various sizes and showing different colours and patterns. The Galapagos Islands are home to giant tortoises and are said to have arrived there around 3 million years ago. Among the most impressive things about these turtles is their capability to survive without food or water for up to a year. Unfortunately, this couldn’t save most the population from near extinction. Whalers and buccaneers saved them as food on long voyages, and they have been used for their oil to light lamps. Luckily, there are conservation efforts to preserve these herbivores from human intervention and other factors that have added to their decline. In the U.S. people are generally fond of tortoises. Many see them as a perfect pet because they’re relatively low maintenance. They hibernate in the winter until about April, eat a regular and simple diet, and do not really require any training or walking. Caring for a tortoise is usually emphasized by having the right environment and diet. It has been observed that they like human contact, although they’re not very social animals. If they’re kept with other tortoises, they can get aggressive but not with any significant injuries. They like to burrow and will try to dig beneath any walls or fences so make certain to secure any enclosure. You can find a tortoise available just about anywhere nowadays. You will find popular tortoises, like the Russian Tortoise and the Red Footed Tortoise, available in exotic pet stores and can also be found on the internet. Before purchasing a tortoise, be sure to research the breed and its specific needs regarding lighting, temperature, and habitat. Knowing the development and history of tortoises, doesn’t mean you know everything about contemporary tortoises. Educate yourself about how to care for a tortoise properly so you can make sure you’re ready to handle the responsibility that comes with owning such an ancient creature.