Giant tortoises size comparison

JTExotics

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Galapagos tortoise species are often lumped together in conversation when they really shouldn’t be. The truth is that they are extremely diverse in size, shape, and their habitat requirements . However, only about half of the total species are represented in captivity, with none of the true saddleback species represented at all.

They vary a lot in size, shape, and even color (to some extent), with the saddleback species being significantly smaller and more “colorful.” The smallest species don’t reach much more than 160 pounds. They are rivaled or beaten in size by Sudanese sulcatas, the biggest yellow foots, and even the largest Ethiopian leopard tortoises. The largest species from the Galapagos, however, are only rivaled in size by the biggest Aldabra tortoises. The record size (of any tortoise) came from a captive Western Santa Cruz giant tortoise (named “Goliath”) who to grow until his death in 2002 (Which was possibly caused by the stress of being moved to a new enclosure, so he could have grown even larger) when he weighed 920 pounds!
Here are some species with pictures and size breakdown:

Ethiopian leopard tortoise, Stigmochelys pardalis babcocki:
Record size: 158 pounds, about 30” SCL
Adult males typically reach 24-28” SCL and weigh close to or more than 100 pounds

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Duncan Island (Galapagos) Giant tortoise, Chelonoidis duncanensis:
Adult males typically reach about 24-30 inches SCL and weigh no more than 170 pounds (possibly then smallest species from the Galapagos)

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Above: “Onan and the author (Fred Caporaso)
(Photo by K. Switak)”- https://tortoise.org/archives/pinzon.html

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Above: Old male Duncan Island tortoise, “Onan”, eating an Opuntia cactus pad
Source: https://www.mindenpictures.com/search?s=pinzon+island+tortoise

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Above: Old male Duncan Island tortoise, “Onan”.

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Above: Repatriated Pínzon (Duncan) island tortoises being returned to the wild




Española Island (Galapagos) tortoise, Chelonoidis hoodensis:
Adult males typically 28-35” SCL and weigh up to 180+- pounds
(Females are much smaller than males, like all Galapagos tortoises)

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Above: Two adult males in a dispute on Española Island, Galapagos

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Above: Adult Male, Charles Darwin research station, Galapagos, Ecuador.
Source: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.ny...americas/galapagos-islands-tortoises.amp.html

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Above: Adult females, Charles Darwin research station, Galapagos, Ecuador.
Source: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.ny...americas/galapagos-islands-tortoises.amp.html




Yellow-Footed Tortoise, Chelonoidis denticulata:
Size: 15-37” SCL
Weight: 20-200 pounds

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Above: Russ Gurley with a giant at the Saint Louis Zoo, Missouri
Source: http://thereptilereport.com/personalities-russ-gurley/


Above: Austin Stevens helping a Giant yellow foot tortoise cross a river in the Amazon.

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Above: The world record yellow foot tortoise (bottom right, 37” SCL, 200 pounds), who lives at the Saint Louis Zoo with a very large male (top right, 32” SCL, 154 pounds).



Western Santa Cruz Giant Tortoise, Chelonoidis porteri:
Size: 40-53” SCL
Average Weight (males): 500–600 pounds
Record weight: 920 pounds

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Above: Adult male, “Goliath”

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Above: Wild adult male, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos.

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Above: Adult male


Side note: The Burmese black mountain tortoise is not the 4th largest tortoise in the world like many people say, yellow foots and leopards can get much larger.

I do have a question:
Can anyone shine some light on what the laws are for Galapagos tortoises and why some species aren’t represented in captivity at all? I know that that they were imported as recently as the late 1990s, but I don’t know if the laws have changed. Is it still legal for certain people (such as zoos) to import them?
 

wellington

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In my searches before settling on the type of tortoise I wanted to get, the leopard was listed as the fourth largest. The Gallop, the Aldabra, the Sulcata and then the Leopard. I never came across a mention of the mountain or the yellow foot being the fourth largest. So much misinformed information out there.
I never came across anything about the smaller gallop you talk about here either. As far back as I can remember knowing anything about tortoises the Gallop was always the biggest. Interesting and confusing the different info depending on what links one comes across.
 

JTExotics

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In my searches before settling on the type of tortoise I wanted to get, the leopard was listed as the fourth largest. The Gallop, the Aldabra, the Sulcata and then the Leopard. I never came across a mention of the mountain or the yellow foot being the fourth largest. So much misinformed information out there.
I never came across anything about the smaller gallop you talk about here either. As far back as I can remember knowing anything about tortoises the Gallop was always the biggest. Interesting and confusing the different info depending on what links one comes across.

A lot of this information is just hard to find, to further complicate things, there is a lot of biased information out their, you will hear many claims, but the truth is more complicated than just Galapagos tortoise, Aldabra, and sulcata. There are at least 10 extant, diverse species of Galapagos tortoise, 3 Aldabra subspecies, Giant Sudanese sulcatas (that can reach over 300 pounds—far larger than the Española and Duncan island tortoise), Giant yellow foot tortoises, 2 types of giant leopard tortoises (South African and the even bigger Ethiopian variety), and then Burmese black mountain tortoises come onto the table. Most people think that the Galapagos tortoise species aren’t very different from each other because only a few, similar domed species are represented in captivity, leading to the false idea that they only difference between them is shell shape. But the truth is that there is a massive size difference between them, with some species that develop a lot of yellowish coloration on their face and neck.

Sudan sulcatas:

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Above: This is a very large sulcata, I estimate it to measure at least 45” SCL and to weigh at least 325 pounds. From: https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/biggest-sulcatas-ive-ever-seen.105846/


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Above: These tortoises all weigh at least 250 pounds, much larger than most sulcatas.
Source: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/sulcata-250-lb-male-specimens.36412/
 

wellington

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After joining the forum, I have heard/read about some of the tortoises you mention. The Ethiopian leopard, the larger sulcatas and I think I seen one pic of a very large YF. Heard of the saddleback aldabra but not the different ranges of size and differences in the Gallop or the Mountains.
Quite interesting not only what you have shared with us in this thread but the amount of info that can be found now compared to when I was searching.
 

Sesel

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Interesting~

Goliath doesn't seem that big. Maybe it's the angle of the photo.

Below is the biggest Aldabra I've ever seen, was still a kid back then. Sadly, this tortoise has since passed away.

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ALDABRAMAN

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ALDABRAMAN

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is said to be over 650 pounds (i personally doubt it, but you never know.)

~ One thing i have found to be very unreliable and extremely inaccurate are verbal weights and sizes. Countless times have i been told a tortoise is so biog or weighs so much and it is not remotely even close to the actual size or weight. People guess and truly have no clue of exact sizes or weights. Using an actual scale is the only way to get them accurately.

~ We use a small crane scale for the males and a large game scale for the females.

~ I have videos of the annual weightings, i will post a few, quite the ordeal (lol)!

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Olddog

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Interesting~

Goliath doesn't seem that big. Maybe it's the angle of the photo.

Below is the biggest Aldabra I've ever seen, was still a kid back then. Sadly, this tortoise has since passed away.

View attachment 264145

I saw and photographed Goliath on a regular basis. His weight was verified for the Guinness Book of World records. He may actually have been somewhat larger than his recorded weight when he expired.

http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/60at60/2015/8/2002-largest-tortoise-392870
 

JTExotics

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Nice to see actual weights. My estimate was not pure guesswork, since It’s shell for sure surpasses 3 to 3.5 feet, the owners know that info. The weight, however, was based off similar length tortoises, and at full weight
 

Kapidolo Farms

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Vic Morgan recently posted on Face Book an Manouria emys phayrei at 110 pounds.

Had just laid 83(?) eggs. I do not recall but a woman in TX had a female that laid 80+ eggs as well, I have no idea of that females size.


Damn Facebook.
 

ColaCarbonaria

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Vic Morgan recently posted on Face Book an Manouria emys phayrei at 110 pounds.

Had just laid 83(?) eggs. I do not recall but a woman in TX had a female that laid 80+ eggs as well, I have no idea of that females size.


Damn Facebook.

That was Little Girl and It was 83 not counting 2 ‘slugs’ that came out first. We weighed Big Momma and she came in at 90 pounds.
 
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