Pharyngula

Galápagos Album: Tortoise time

Comments

  1. #1 God
    September 15, 2008

    ah yes, one of My Finest Creations! You might think turtles help prove that pagan theory which must not be named, but you would be wrong. Did you know that all turtles love Me? They are all baptist fundamentalists, which is why I let them live so long.

  2. #2 Nerdette
    September 15, 2008

    I spent the summer of my third undergraduate year volunteering at the Sedgwick County Zoo in the Reptile and Amphibian house (sadly, the summer before the parthenogenetic Komodo dragons hatched, so I just missed them). I loved maintaining the Aldabra tortoise yard though. It was amusing to scratch their necks and watch them stretch out in evident pleasure!

  3. #3 Darth Wader
    September 15, 2008

    ah yes, one of My Finest Creations! You might think turtles help prove that pagan theory which must not be named, but you would be wrong. Did you know that all turtles love Me? They are all baptist fundamentalists, which is why I let them live so long.

    Infallible my ass, its a tortoise not a turtle

  4. #4 Nerdette
    September 15, 2008

    See the Turtle of enormous girth!
    On his back he holds the earth
    His thought is slow, but always kind
    He holds us all within his mind

    On his back all vows are made;
    He sees the truth but mayn’t aid.
    He loves the land and loves the sea,
    And even loves a child like me

    - This was frequently in my head over the course of that summer..

  5. #5 Reginald Selkirk
    September 15, 2008

    The tortoise is only mentioned once in the King James Bible; in that fount of biological wisdom, Leviticus chapter 11.

    [29] These also shall be unclean unto you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind,

  6. #6 dzd
    September 15, 2008

    Turtle/tortoise time is the best time. It’s axiomatic.

  7. #7 elizabeth
    September 15, 2008

    What a beautiful photo! Years ago, in the 1950′s, at the Toledo Zoo aquarium in Ohio, there was an enormous alligator snapping turtle that had almost the same dignity as the tortoise in your photo. Those dinosaurian-looking legs and feet; the Toledo Zoo also had a Galapagos tortoise in its petting zoo area, upon which little children could ride. Not humane, but we were very impressed with the animal.
    Thanks for this amazing image.

  8. #8 Holbach
    September 15, 2008

    Hi there! They tell me Charles Darwin scratched his name on your carapace! Hang onto it(Ha!); it may be worth a lot in the right market!

  9. #9 Sven DiMilo
    September 15, 2008

    its a tortoise not a turtle

    Let the Great Debate begin!!!

    Or not; it just depends where you live and/or learned English.
    In the USA, any chelonian is a “turtle,” a “tortoise” is a specialized land-dwelling member of the family Testudinidae, and sea turtles are called…sea turtles. “Terrapin” refers to the coastal diamondback terapin (Malaclemys terrapin), and colloquially to box turtles in Arkansas and Oklahoma.
    In the European UK, “turtle” specifically means sea turtle, “tortoise” means a testudinid as above, and any freshwater chelonian can be a “terrapin.”
    In Australia they have no real tortoises, so they have chosen to call any old freshwater chelonian a “tortoise” (by which they usually mean one of those weird side-necks they have down there). “Turtle” means sea turtle.

    Who’s right? Who’s wrong?

  10. #10 Qwerty
    September 15, 2008

  11. #11 windy, OM
    September 15, 2008

    It’s a shield-toad.

  12. #12 Emmet Caulfield
    September 15, 2008

    In the European UK…

    …as distinct from the American UK ;o)

  13. #13 Quiet_Desperation
    September 15, 2008

    GO AHED! KALL ME A TURTLE AGAIN! FAIL!

    Oh, sorry, wrong site. :-)

  14. #14 Quiet_Desperation
    September 15, 2008

    Ah! It’s Gamera!

    “Gamera is really neat,
    Gamera is full of meat.
    We all love you Gam-e-ra.”

  15. #15 becca-lizardqueen
    September 15, 2008

    We require more herp posts.

  16. #16 Benjamin Geiger
    September 15, 2008

    You didn’t happen to see any elephants standing on its back, supporting a giant disc, did you?

  17. #17 Uncephalized
    September 15, 2008

    elizabeth @ #7

    I don’t know that it’s particularly inhumane. Those tortoises are astoundingly strong; they could lift small cars if they had the inclination. I doubt that one, or even three or four, small children would pose a burden to them. They probably didn’t even notice half the time.

  18. #18 ildi
    September 15, 2008

    I love tortoises! I want one to ride! (I don’t think Ohio is the best environment for them, though.)

    Favorite memeory is watching a tortoise in the St. Louis zoo trying to pass another one; its shell was caught, and it took the damn thing almost half an hour to get loose. Very relaxing.

  19. #19 Sili
    September 15, 2008

    Nerdette,

    I am exceedinly jealous.

  20. #20 ildi
    September 15, 2008

    Notice how ET’s head was copied from a tortoise? I REALLY love them. I used to say that I had a tortoise fetish until a (male) friend asked me if I knew what the word meant. OK, not a fetish.

    But I must say,the idea of riding the back of one Lady Godiva-style in the hot sun almost sends me to my happy place …

  21. #21 Sven DIMIlo
    September 15, 2008

    A shrine of my youth was the Turtleback Zoo in West Orange, NJ, so called because they had a nice herd of giant tortoises that kids could climb on…in the unlikely event that it moved at all, you were “riding.”. It’s still there, but I doubt you can ride on the tortoises anymore.

  22. #22 Sven DIMIlo
    September 15, 2008

    Ha! just noticed that the “history” tab at the zoo site I linked above claims that:

    The zoo took its name from a rock formation located on the mountainside just east of the zoo. The Lanape Indians called this formation Turtle Back Rock.

    I think they’re lying! I sat on those big guys many times; it was the whole point of the trip for me.

  23. #23 Tressa
    September 15, 2008

    Is that Lonesome George?

  24. #24 Bruce Perry
    September 15, 2008

    Tortoise fans may also enjoy these panoramas from the Galapagos:

    http://www.gigapan.org/searchGigapansList.php?keywords=tortoise

    On that page, click on the panorama you want to view. When it appears, use the “+” and “-” controls to zoom into the picture to find the tortoises

  25. #25 Bride of Shrek OM
    September 15, 2008

    Sven at #9

    ” Australia…one of those weird side-necks they have down there”

    ..and I’ll ask you exactly what is wrong with having a side neck?

    I’ll have you know I look rather fetching in a low cut blouse.

  26. #26 Temaharay
    September 15, 2008

    I love turtles. Tortoises are cool by proxy.

  27. #27 IBY
    September 15, 2008

    That is one big turtle. Anyways, I love the picture. ^_^

  28. #28 Christopher
    September 15, 2008

    How cute! I can’t explain why I love these tortoises so much…

  29. #29 LisaJ
    September 15, 2008

    Amazing!!! Jealous!!!

    By the way, are you over your Galapagos sickness now, PZ?

  30. #30 Gerry L
    September 15, 2008

    You should enter that photo in a contest — state fair, county fair, nature magazine.

  31. #31 Falyne
    September 15, 2008

    (NB: I think it needs to be GAL-la-pah-gos to scan properly)

    Galapagos tortoise time!
    Galapagos tortoise time!
    Galapagos tortoise time!

    Where he at,
    Where he at,
    Where he at,
    Where he at,
    There he go,
    There he go,
    There he go,
    There he go,
    Galapagos tor-toise!
    Galapagos tor-toise!
    Galapagos tor-toise!
    Galapagos tor-toise!

    Galapagostortoise!
    Galapagostortoise!
    Galapagostortoisewithabaseballbat!

  32. #32 Luger Otter Robinson
    September 16, 2008

    The Galapagos Islands are sort of named after the tortoise. A galapago is an old Spanish word for a sort of saddle. Some of the tortoises look like the saddle, so they got called galapagos tortoises. Hence Galapagos Islands.

  33. #33 Benjamin Geiger
    September 16, 2008

    Falyne: Somehow I’m not all that worried about a tortoise wielding a baseball bat.

  34. #34 ildi
    September 16, 2008

    This thread is my kind of crazy!

    (Power still out at my house – I’m scared when a hurricane can creep up from Texas and slap me up-side the head in Ohio.)

  35. #35 Sven DiMilo
    September 16, 2008

    In the European UK…
    …as distinct from the American UK ;o)

    yeah…I wasn’t sure whether Australia and Canada still count, and was too lazy (even now) to look it up. I am the Ugly American!

  36. #36 Thepetey
    September 17, 2008

    YAY!!!!!!
    Tortise!!!!!

    Happy dance
    Happy dance