A little slow on the uptake

How I wish I had gotten some video of this!

How I wish I had gotten some video of this!

A few days ago I was at a friend’s house watching his little brother hold a small tortoise (2 years old but small enough to fit in the palm of his hand). I realized that, as much as I am fascinated by tortoises and find the majority of them incredibly cute, I know very little about their ecology or conservation status. This feels a bit strange since I have cared for African spur-thighed tortoises in Texas (the day I walked in and found them lined up staring at the wall, I got a little concerned about their ability to strategize…) and the best battle I have ever watched was a slow-motion crash between two tortoises in Bolivia which ended in one being turned over (I laughed for a while after it was over).

With regard to conservation, I believe that there are concerns about the gopher tortoise in the southwest and California, and I know that some species of tortoises from the Galapagos have gone extinct since human discovery of the islands. All in all, that’s not a lot. In fact, I had been surprised to find tortoises in the rain forest of Bolivia, because I had thought they were generally in dry habitats. So this month I am going to focus on tortoise populations around the world. Given how little I know, it’s bound to be pretty informative for me- hopefully it is just as interesting for you!

Posted March 2, 2014 by Mirka Zapletal in Reptiles

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