Galápagos Tortoise

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Galápagos Tortoise

Galápagos TortoiseOriginal.jpg

Character Data
Also known as: Galapagos Giant tortoise
Japanese Name: ガラパゴスゾウガメ
Romanised Name: Garapagosuzōgame
First Featured in: Kemono Friends (2015 Game)
Animal Data
Scientific Name: Chelonoidis nigra
Distribution: Unknown
Diet: Herbivore
Average Lifespan in the Wild: 100 years
Read More: Galápagos tortoise
Conservation Status: Status iucn3.1 VU.svg.png
Galápagos Tortoise Nexon Game

The Galápagos Tortoise is a type of Friend that appeared in the original Kemono Friends mobile game.

Appearance

Galápagos tortoises are the giants of the tortoise world. Males can weigh more than 500 pounds (227 kilograms), and females average about 250 pounds (113 kilograms). They have thick, sturdy legs to hold up all that weight, but they still spend a lot of time lying down to conserve energy. There are two types of Galápagos tortoises. The largest, with big, round shells, are called “domes.” The smaller kinds of tortoises have shells that curl up in front like a saddle and are called “saddlebacks.”

Although they are massive animals, their shells are not solid. Instead, they are made up of honeycomb structures that enclose small air chambers. This makes it possible for the tortoise to carry the weight of the shell without much difficulty. The shell encompasses the animal’s ribs, so a tortoise cannot "walk out" of its shell, like you may see in cartoons. The lungs are located on the top of the tortoise’s body, under the top dome of the shell.

When threatened, the tortoise pulls itself into its shell with a hiss. The hissing sound is just the tortoise letting air out of its lungs. If a fight breaks out among males, the tortoises face each other with ferocious glares, open their mouth, and stretch their head as high as they can. Whoever reaches the highest wins, even if he is much smaller overall than the other male! The loser pulls his head in with a noisy hiss, and the battle is over. To us, this looks like they’re just putting on a show; but it’s a serious matter to the tortoises, especially in the wild, where fights occur over mates or a specific food item or clump of food.

Each was uniquely suited for survival on that particular island’s environment. For example, domed shells were found on tortoises living in highlands with lush pastures. Saddleback shells gave the tortoises on other islands more flexibility to reach sparse vegetation found higher off the ground, allowing them to stretch their neck to eat from bushes and cactus. On islands with sparse vegetation, the tortoises have longer legs to climb a little and reach food growing up high; these tortoises tend to be smaller, possibly to help them travel through their harsher habitat.

Galápagos tortoises are herbivores that eat prickly pear cactus (a favorite) and fruits, as well as flowers, leaves, and grasses. In fact, these tortoises can go without eating or drinking for up to a year, because they can store food and water so well. Tortoises don’t have teeth, so they use the bony outer edges of the mouth to bite off and mash food. Once in the mouth, food is quickly swallowed. They don’t have a good sense of smell, so they use their eyes to find food. Anything red really gets their attention!

When giant tortoises reach maturity, at about 20 to 25 years of age, they begin to think about reproducing. In the wild, their breeding season is generally between January and August. After mating, the females begin a journey of several miles to reach nesting areas. They look for dry, sandy ground and dig a hole about 12 inches (30 centimeters) deep. Here they lay hard-shelled eggs the size of tennis balls and cover them up with sand.

Temperature plays a role in whether a tortoise hatchling is male or female: if the nest temperature is low, more males hatch; if it is high, more females hatch. When the young tortoises emerge from their shells, they must dig their way to the surface, which can take up to one month! It’s then up to them to survive on their own, as the mother does not stay to help them.

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