Have you ever wondered what a tortoise’s lifespan is? According to scientific studies, the typical lifespan of a pet tortoise is between 50 and 100 years. However, several studies have revealed that wild tortoises can live up to 150 years and beyond. In 2006, a (reportedly) 255-year-old gigantic tortoise named Adwaitya died. Additionally, a tortoise named Jonathan will turn 190 years old in 2022!
There are numerous species of tortoises worldwide, and they thrive in a variety of temperatures. The actual lifespan of a tortoise is dependent on a variety of factors, including breed, habitat, care, and diet. However, most tortoises are typically quite long-lived.
How Long Do Different Types of Tortoises Live?
To make things easier, we’ve highlighted some of the most significant elements affecting tortoise lifetime and then included a table listing the typical lifespans of various tortoise species.
|Hermann’s Tortoise||50-90 years|
|Egyptian Tortoise||50-100 years|
|Greek Tortoise||50-90 years|
|Pancake Tortoise||50-90 years|
|Burmese Star Tortoise||60-100 years|
|Sri Lankan Star Tortoise||60–100 years|
There are varied tortoise species across the world, but the most long-lived tortoises are giant tortoises. While giant tortoises once lived widely across the world, today they’re found in only two island chains: in Seychelles and the Galapagos islands.
The largest Galapagos tortoises can reach up to 919 pounds. Giant Aldabra tortoises from Seychelles aren’t far behind. These giant tortoise species generally live to the longest ages. The 190-year-old giant tortoise, Jonathan, is an Aldabra tortoise.
Smaller tortoises can live a long lifespan, but generally less than their giant cousins. Let’s take a look at a handful of popular tortoise species and their lifespans.
Lifespan of Hermann’s Tortoise
Hermann’s tortoises are one of the longest-living species of tortoise – with diligent care, they can live for more than 50-100 years. That means that if you get a tortoise as a pet as a child, it may outlast you by decades!
Lifespan of an Egyptian Tortoise
Egyptian tortoises are the smallest of the testudo tortoises, growing to an average length of 5-8 inches. With a lifespan of 50–100 years, they may provide a lifetime of companionship. However, there are other considerations to make before purchasing one as a pet.
Lifespan of The Greek Tortoise
The Greek turtle is the most well-known species of pet tortoise (Testudo graeca). Surprisingly, these pet tortoises spend just 20 to 40 years in the wild and can live up to 90 years in captivity with proper care.
Lifespan of A Pancake Tortoise
Pancake tortoises are one of the world’s most unusual tortoise species. These tortoises live an average of 30 to 60 years in captivity.
The pancake tortoise is named for its long, thin, flat shell. With hollow shell bones, the pancake tortoise weighs less than other tortoises, allowing it to be nimble and agile.
Lifespan of the Burmese Star Tortoise
The Burmese star tortoise’s longevity is heavily reliant on its care and living circumstances. The average lifespan is between 50 and 100 years for this tortoise species.
Lifespan of the Sri Lankan Star Tortoise
Sri Lankan star tortoises are popular as pets due to their friendly disposition, gentle temperament, and longevity. Their usual lifespan in captivity is between 50 and 75 years. That is an extended period for a pet to become a member of your house, family, and heart.
How Do Tortoises Live For Such A Long Time?
For millions of years, tortoises and turtles have existed, but what makes them such long-lived species? Is their longevity due to their DNA, or does their food play a role? Let’s find out!
Tortoises have a sluggish metabolic rate. Tortoises’ slow metabolism is thought to contribute to their longevity. The ability of the animal to have a slower metabolic rate enables it to consume less energy.
The age at which tortoises first procreate varies from a few years to as many as 50, with smaller species often reaching sexual maturity earlier. This shows how tortoises are built to take their time in life. As if to prove that slow and steady wins the race when it comes to longevity.
Tortoises that dwell in colder environments and have thicker skin may live longer than tortoises that live in warmer environments.
A tortoise’s size is one of its most distinguishing qualities. Larger tortoises live longer than smaller ones. Galapagos tortoises, for example, have been reported to live up to three hundred years (although the official record stands at 190 years)! They still require a nutritious diet, shelter, and an ideal environment to thrive.
How Can You Ensure Your Tortoise Lives a Longer Life?
No matter how much care you provide, if your tortoise lives in a terrible environment, its longevity will be significantly reduced. Below are some tips to ensure your domesticated tortoise lives a long and enjoyable life.
Unfortunately, many tortoises never reach their full lifespans due to improper feeding. You should construct a proper diet as a tortoise owner. There are many options for your tortoise and much of it depends on the type of tortoise you own.
You can purchase pellets designed for tortoises or freeze-dried fish food from your local pet store. The key is to feed in small increments to avoid overfeeding your tortoise.
You want to ensure the safety and health of your tortoise. Leaving them in old droppings is unsanitary and unhealthy. If you do not carefully clean their enclosure daily, you will end up dealing with a mess.
Clean their enclosures thoroughly before they enter, wash their bedding frequently, and never allow urine to get into the bedding or enclosure.
Tortoises require regular exposure to sunlight to remain healthy. As is well known, sunlight is an excellent source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D also strengthens your pet tortoise’s immune system, allowing it to grow healthy and strong.
If your tortoise is always fearful, it will develop chronic stress and the reptile’s health will suffer. Keep its environment clean, spacious, and filled with things your tortoise will enjoy, including sand, plants, tank decorations, and a clean water source.
Hopefully, this article was able to provide you with a better understanding of tortoise life expectancy, and, most importantly, with inspiration to keep your own tortoise happy and healthy, ensuring they thrive for a long time!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © KOTORICHIKAPHOTO/Shutterstock.com
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