Difference between Turtle and Tortoise - Home of Knowledge

Difference between Turtle and Tortoise

Difference between Turtle and Tortoise

Did you recognize that tortoises are turtles, but not all turtles are tortoises? Most of the people use the term “turtle” to reference any reptile with a shell on its back, but there’s several differences between these two unique creatures.





Most turtles are primarily water-dwelling reptiles

Tortoises are land-dwelling reptiles


Turtles are usually omnivores

Tortoises are primarily herbivores

Shells Mass

Turtles generally have lighter shells on their backs

Tortoises have much heavier and robust shells


Not all turtles are Tortoises

All tortoises are turtles, as they belong to the order Testudines

Life Span

Turtles usually have a shorter life span from 20-40 years

Tortoises usually have a long life from 80-150 years

Shells Structure

Tortoises have more rounded and domed shells.

Turtles have thinner, more water-dynamic shells.  Turtle shells are more streamlined to aid in swimming.

Limbs Structure

Tortoises have club-like forelegs and ‘elephantine’ hind legs.

Their elephantine hind legs help them move around and carry the extra weight!

Turtles have more flipper like legs, or webbed feet to make it easier to cruise through the water.


Leopard tortoise

Green turtle

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *