From La Fontaine to the Ninja Turtles, from Franklin the Turtle to Crush in Finding Nemo and Caroline in Billy and Buddy, tortoises and turtles have always been popular creatures!  According to Greek mythology, human beings and animals were invited to Zeus and Heras wedding. But Chelone refused to come. “There’s no place like home!” she answered when Zeus asked her why she did not come, Zeus condemned her to carry her home on her back forever.The word “tortoise” comes from the Greek word “khelônê” and “chelonians”. And the Latin word for tortoise is “testudo”, testudines. Testudines or Chelonian represents the reptile with a shell group.

What is a turtle or a tortoise ?
It is a tetrapod (four-legged) reptile with a shell. Its shell has a plastron (the part underneath the animal) and a shell (on the top), linked on each sides.The group is traditionally divided into three groups: tortoises, aquatic or freshwater turtles and sea turtles.

Turtles and tortoises are oviparous and lay eggs once a year. Young turtles and tortoises grow up quickly; their development then slows down. Depending on their age and their species, tortoises and turtles may eat meat or plants. More than 300 species of tortoises and turtles can be found across the globe, living in a wide range of habitats. Forty-two percent of these species are endangered, either because of habitat destruction or because of excessive predation. Human involvement is very significant in both cases, despite campaigns to protect these populations.

With nearly 40% of your bodyweight on your back at all time and in a world which lives at high speed, let yourself slow down and live at the same rhythm as a tortoise!

Turtles species to be observed within the reserve

African spurred tortoise – Janine

Bornean giant turtle – Kali

Aldabra giant tortoise – Bernard

Pig-nosed turtle – Micheline

European pond turtle – Emy

Alligator snapping turtle – Rocky

Galápagos tortoise – Franck