Types of Tortoise (Water, Baskin, Land, Sea & More) | Best Guide


Tortoises are quiet, very calm and slow-moving creatures. They are very hardy when you can provide them with the right kind of environment. Their requirements are very modest and have a long life. There are about 200 different types of Tortoise or you can say species.

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Tortoises that spend a lot of time underwater have webbed feet for swimming. They are also called as aquatic tortoises or marsh and swamp type Tortoise. Some Tortoises are semi-aquatic as they spend time both on land and in water. Land Tortoises are also known as terrapins and spend most of their time on land.

Water Tortoise:

In the water tortoises, there are basking types and non-basking ones.

Basking tortoises:

They climb on the log or rock and sun themselves.

  • Spotted and Painted tortoises
  • Cooters Tortoise
  • Sliders Tortoise
  • Maps Tortoise

Non-basking types of tortoise

These Tortoises bask at the surface of the water and not on land

  • Mud and Musk Tortoise
  • Snapping Tortoise
  • Soft Shell Tortoise
  • Side Necked Tortoise

The water Tortoise includes the aquatic Tortoise and the semi-aquatic Tortoise.

Aquatic types of Tortoise :

  • Aquatic Tortoise is kept indoors and is commonly housed in the aquariums.
  • Outdoor housings are seasonal and used only during warm days and may consist of some pond.
  • These Tortoises produce a lot of waste and hence water needs to be filtered very frequently.
  • Basking types may require some rocks or partially submerged logs to climb on during basking.
  • The non-basking Tortoise will float on aquatic vegetation or top of the water.

Semi-aquatic types of Tortoise:

  • Semi-aquatic Tortoise can be housed in the aquariums but will need more land than the water.
  • This can be done by providing a water dish in the corner of an aquarium or a terrarium that is firmly anchored to the bottom.
  • The tortoise can soak and go back whenever they feel.
  • You may build any type of enclosures with a water area as these Tortoises require a lot of lands.
  • These Tortoises can be kept outdoors seasonally.

Land Tortoise:

  • These Tortoises live mostly on land which has some access to water
  • They require fewer pieces of equipment and it is easier to maintain and clean their terrain
  • These Tortoises seldom carry diseases that can affect humans
  • Land Tortoise is housed in terrariums instead of aquariums as they do not need water much for their day to day activity
  • Access to clean water in a spill-proof dish is enough
  • These can also be kept in an outdoor housing as it is more beneficial for their growth
  • Land Tortoise need similar type dry conditions like the desert type of Tortoise

Sea Tortoise:

  • These Tortoises live in the sea and are not considered as pets as keeping them is illegal
  • There are nearly 8 species of sea Tortoise

The most common types of Tortoise can also be large Tortoise and small Tortoise

1. Large Tortoise /Giant Tortoise:

These are the world’s longest-living animals with an average life of 100 years. These Tortoises have gigantic bodies with an average of 4 feet and can weigh as much as 300kg

  • Saddle Backed Mauritius Giant Tortoise
  • Hood Island Tortoise

2. Small tortoise:

These tortoises have tiny bodies like 2 or more inches and weight is few grams

  • Bog tortoise (2 inches)
  • Box tortoise (6-8 inches)

There are about 200 different species of tortoises. This article on types of tortoises will give you a general idea about the different types of tortoises.


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