Both tortoises and turtles belong to the Chelonians, a genus of reptiles. Despite the frequent confusion between the terms “turtle” and “tortoise,” turtles are more commonly used to describe a species that lives both on land and in water, whereas tortoises are solely found on land.
Not merely because of their vibrant shells, turtles are among the most intriguing animals on earth. Meritorious in nature, turtles are prized for their longevity and intriguing adaptations. These amazing creatures have decades on end to outlast humans!
The longest-living turtle species can live about 200 years. Indeed, tortoises make up some of the longest-living turtle species. They have outlasted multiple generations thanks to their steady, unhurried pace and have come to represent wisdom and resiliency.
In an ideal world, most tortoises and turtles would survive far longer in captivity than they would in the wild. They lack regular veterinarian care and have to obtain their food in addition to avoiding predators in the outdoors. But tortoises and turtles are usually hard to care for when maintained as pets.
A diet lacking in nutrients and an unsuitable habitat can frequently leave turtles sick and crippled with incredibly short lives. To satisfy each species’ unique needs, it is crucial to conduct thorough research on them and collaborate closely with a reptile veterinarian.
In this blog post, we shall go into the realm of the 10 longest-living turtle species on Earth. Every species on this list has distinct qualities of its own and the amazing capacity to withstand the test of time.
Table of Contents
10 Longest-Living Turtle Species
- AFRICAN SPUR-THIGHED TORTOISE
- ALDABRA GIANT TORTOISE
- SEYCHELLES GIANT TORTOISES
- RADIATED TORTOISE
- GIANT GALAPAGOS LAND TORTOISE
- GREEK TORTOISE
- MARGINATED TORTOISE
- PINTA ISLAND TORTOISE
- RUSSIAN TORTOISE
- KLEINMANN’S TORTOISE
1. AFRICAN SPUR-THIGHED TORTOISE
One of the biggest and longest-living turtle species in the world is the African spurred tortoise, also known as the spur-thighed tortoise. It can last up to 100 years in captivity and is endemic to northern Africa and southwest Asia.
This species is distinguished from others by its unique golden or brown shells with black patterns, and some individuals can weigh over 100 pounds.
Due to its adaptability, the African Spur-Thighed Tortoise can live in a wide range of environments, including wet forests and arid deserts. As herbivores, they eat grasses, flowers, fruits, and vegetables, among other plants. The African spur-thighed tortoise, which has the longest recorded lifespan, is said to have lived 344 years in a Nigerian royal court.
This story, however, is contested because there is a dearth of concrete proof and a widespread idea that other tortoises with the same name, Alagba, may have supplanted the Alagba. But with an average lifespan of 100 years, there’s no denying that African spur-thighed tortoises are extremely long-lived.
2. ALDABRA GIANT TORTOISE
One of the biggest and longest-living turtle species on the planet is the Aldabra giant tortoise, which reached a record-breaking age of 250 at a zoo in Calcutta, India reached a record-breaking age of 250 at a zoo in Calcutta, India. It is a native of the Indian Ocean’s Aldabra Atoll and is listed as an endangered species.
These creatures develop slowly, have protracted reproductive cycles, and have lengthy lifespans. They weigh more than 150 kg (330 lbs) and can grow to lengths of up to 5 ft. Aldabra giant tortoises are thought to live for at least 100 years on average.
3. SEYCHELLES GIANT TORTOISES
One of the longest-living turtle species is the Seychelles giant tortoise, which may be found in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean. Their usual lifespan is 150 years, and Jonathan is the oldest known living example at 190 years old. As the “Oldest Turtle,” Jonathan is now listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.
With a maximum weight of 400 pounds, these turtles rank second among the world’s largest species of tortoises, only surpassed by the giant tortoises of the Galapagos. Because they are herbivorous and can survive on very little water, giant tortoises found in the Seychelles can contentedly inhabit their arid environment.
These amazing animals have persevered for millions of years almost unaltered, and they continue to be among the most striking turtle species. With conservation initiatives assisting in their protection and preservation, they continue to flourish in their natural habitat.
4. RADIATED TORTOISE
With an estimated average longevity of between 80 and 150 years in the wild, the radiated tortoise is one of the longest-living turtle species. A radiated tortoise held the title of “Oldest Turtle” until she died in 1966 at the age of 189, just before a Seychelles giant tortoise reached 190.
It is the largest species that is native to the island nation of Madagascar. Because of habitat degradation and illicit collecting for the pet trade, this species is extremely threatened.
The adult Radiated Tortoise can grow to a length of 29 inches and a weight of 20–45 pounds, making it a big species. Its common name comes from the unique golden pattern of radiating lines on its shell and limbs. On the upper side of the shell, there are two rows of pyramidal tubercles.
Up to 5,000 feet in altitude, dry grasslands, and prickly deserts make up the natural habitat of radiating tortoises. Although they will also eat flowers and herbs, their primary food source is vegetation, such as cactus pads and fruits.
5. GIANT GALAPAGOS LAND TORTOISE
One of the world’s longest-living turtle species is the giant Galapagos land tortoise. Located on the volcanic islands off the coast of Ecuador, this species can live up to 100 years on average; in 2006, Harriet, the oldest member of the genus, reached the age of 175 years. They have a 500-pound weight limit.
This species is in danger of going extinct despite its great size and age because of poaching, habitat destruction, and the introduction of non-native species that compete with it for resources. To prevent the extinction of this extraordinary species, conservation efforts are being made.
By all measures, the giant Galapagos land tortoise is a remarkable animal. Its distinctive appearance is derived from its huge, dome-shaped shell, which has ridges running down its sides and back. One of the biggest tortoises in the world, its shell may grow up to 8 feet long and 4 feet wide. It is composed of 13 plates.
6. GREEK TORTOISE
The spur-thighed tortoise, or Greek tortoise, is a small to medium-sized species of tortoise that is indigenous to areas of Asia and southern Europe. They belong to the group of turtles that live the longest. Their longevity ranges from 50 to 90 years on average, with the maximum recorded lifespan being 160 years.
These tortoises are indigenous to the Mediterranean region, where they live in rocky, scrubby, and arid grasslands. Their color can vary from yellowish to olive brown to darker tones, and they feature a high-domed shell.
Adults of these tortoises normally grow to a length of 8–18 cm (3–7 inches), making them quite tiny. Because of their sluggish metabolism, they can endure extended periods without food or water, making them incredibly resilient creatures.
7. MARGINATED TORTOISE
One kind of tortoise found in the Mediterranean region is the marginated tortoise. At an average age of 100 years, it is among the longest-living turtle species; the oldest marginated tortoise ever found lived to be 150 years old.
It is well-known for both its unique shell design and its capacity for hibernation in the winter. These animals can stay cool in the blazing Mediterranean sun because of their low-slung bodies and thick shells. They can reach a maximum length of 20 inches and range in color from black to yellow.
As herbivores, marginal tortoises consume a range of grasses and other plants that grow in their natural habitat. They like to live in wide spaces with lots of vegetation and sunlight.
8. PINTA ISLAND TORTOISE
With an average lifespan of 100 years and a documented age of 150, the Pinta Island tortoise is one of the longest-living turtle species in the world. This type of enormous tortoise is unique to Pinta Island, which is part of the Ecuadorian coast’s Galapagos archipelago.
It was thought to have vanished from existence in June 2012 when Lonesome George, the sole surviving member, passed away. Nevertheless, recent studies have shown that there are still a few individuals of the species and that it is not truly extinct.
One of the 14 known subspecies of giant tortoises that can be found in the Galapagos Islands is the Pinta Island tortoise. Its dark brown limbs, yellowish-brown carapace, and unique domed shell are all characteristic. Adult specimens can grow to a length of three feet and weigh between 85 and 110 pounds.
9. RUSSIAN TORTOISE
One of the longest-living turtle species is the Russian tortoise, sometimes referred to as the Afghan tortoise. It is found in dry and semi-arid regions of Central Asia and some portions of the Middle East. The typical longevity of this species is between 50 and 80 years, yet some members have been known to live up to 100 years.
They reach a maximum length of 8 to 10 inches, making them comparatively small tortoises. The majority of their diet is made up of various grasses and other plants. They are renowned for being resilient and environment-adaptable.
10. KLEINMANN’S TORTOISE
The little species of tortoise known as Kleinmann’s tortoise, or Egyptian tortoise, is indigenous to the deserts of Egypt and Libya. They live for around 50 years on average, although in captivity, they have been known to live up to 100 years. Originally from North Africa, these tortoises are usually found in semi-desert environments and favor dry, arid weather.
Their capacity to build close ties with their owners and their distinctive coloring make them highly prized among reptile aficionados. The yellow-brown shell of Kleinmann’s tortoises is often dotted with dark patches, giving them an intriguing patterned appearance. When completely developed, they only reach a length of approximately eight inches, making them rather small.
We sincerely hope you have enjoyed this investigation into the unusually lengthy lifespans of some turtles. So keep that in mind if you spot one of these extinct animals in the wild.
FAQs: 10 Longest-Living Turtle Species
How long do sea turtles live?
It is challenging to accurately record the age of any species of sea turtle. What is known is that sea turtles have lifespans that are comparable to those of humans and can reach up to 50 years or more. After maturing for 20 to 30 years, the majority of marine turtles continue to be actively reproductive for an additional 10 years.