What Does a Galapagos Tortoise Look Like?

by James C.
(United States)

I've heard a lot about Galapagos giant tortoises and would like to know what does a Galapagos tortoise look like and its main characteristics?

And also why these giant tortoises were named Galapagos?

Your Answer...


The Galapagos tortoise has the shape of a saddle. The word Galapago means tortoise in Spanish it derives from the word for saddle, referring to the distinctive saddle-like shell of some of the tortoises.

The Giant Galapagos tortoise can weigh up to 250 kg. and measure 6 feet from head to tail.

The Galapagos tortoise has a very large shell made of bone. The shell can be domed or saddle-backed. Domed shells are found on tortoises that live in areas with lush vegetation.

Saddle-back shells allow the tortoise to reach vegetation higher off the ground. This shell is more common in areas with less vegetation.

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