More on swimming tortoises

by Greg Mayer Dennis Hansen, our Aldabra correspondent, sent Jerry a very nice video of a swimming Aldabra giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea). This immediately brought to mind what is, in my view, one of the most important recent papers in biogeography, “The first substantiated case of trans-oceanic tortoise dispersal” by Justin Gerlach, Catharine Muir, and […]

Darwin’s pet tortoise

by Greg Mayer (addendum below) Darwin lived in the country, and had many animals– for companionship, work, and research. For companions, his chief pets were d*gs (my favorite of Darwin’s d*gs was Bob), but he also had a tortoise that he brought home from James (Santiago) Island in the Galapagos. It has been claimed (most […]

Extinct tortoise rediscovered- sort of- and hope for Lonesome George’s clan

by Greg Mayer The recent untimely passing of Lonesome George, the last living individual of the Galapagos tortoise subspecies from Pinta (Abingdon) Island, reminds me of a paper from earlier this year, which holds out some hope for the Pinta tortoises. In that paper, in Current Biology, Ryan Garrick and colleagues presented evidence for the […]

Do tortoises need glasses?

by Greg Mayer This young tortoise is having a hard time getting a bite of this piece of tomato. I’m not sure what kind of tortoise it is– it looks like a member of the genus Testudo, which consists of about four species with a bunch of subspecies from southern Europe, northern Africa, and western […]

Caturday felid

by Greg Mayer As a herpetologist with a cat, I’m always interested in feline-reptilian interactions, and here’s a South African tortoise that either doesn’t like cats, or likes them so much that it gets close enough to annoy them and drive them away. Note that the orange tabby, at least, appears to regard its interactions […]