These Are The Biggest Turtles & Tortoises In The World!

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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My curiosity for turtles has led me to wonder which species is the largest in the world, what they appear like, and where they can be found. It is common knowledge that marine turtles may grow to be very large, but, which species are considered to be the largest turtle on the entire planet? I made up my mind to locate the answer by doing some study.

The leatherback sea turtle may grow to be between six and seven feet in length on average and is the largest species of turtle in the world. Land turtles like an adult gigantic tortoise may grow over 4 feet, but the turtles kept as pets usually reach up to 12 inches.

These are only some averages, some leatherback turtles may grow to be quite a bit larger than what was mentioned above. Now, let’s take a more in-depth look at various turtles and determine the maximum sizes they may get in addition to the distinctive qualities that each species has.

Turtle And Tortoise

Tortoises belong to the family Testudinidae and have anatomical characteristics that set them besides other turtles.

But the word “tortoise” has traditionally been often used to describe other land-based reptiles too, including the wood turtle and the box turtle.

Tortoises are turtles that thrive on the soil. The biggest of all the many kinds of turtles are those that live in the ocean. They have a very high life expectancy.

Therefore, they are capable of growing to be quite long and very heavy.

What Are The World’s Biggest Turtles?

There are around 356 different species of turtles that may be found in saline water, freshwater, and on the land. Antarctica is the only continent that does not have any land-dwelling turtles.

Leatherback turtles are the biggest marine turtles that are still alive today. On average, they may reach a height of 6 feet and weigh anything from 500 to 2,000 pounds.

In addition, certain leatherback turtles have been known to grow to heights of up to 10 feet!

When contrasted to turtles found in freshwater and on land, sea turtles have a larger body size. Even the tiniest sea turtles, such as the Kemp’s ridley, may grow to be more than one meter (2 feet) in length.

On the contrary, the giant tortoises are by far the biggest terrestrial turtles that are still alive today. When they reach their full maturity, these tortoises may grow to a length of about five feet and weigh up to 500 pounds.

They make their home in the Galapagos Islands, which are located in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

There are now seven distinct species of marine turtles. The mature female and male sea turtles of each species are around the same size when fully grown.

Leatherback Sea Turtle

The following is a chart that compares their sizes and weights:

Species of sea turtlesSize (average)WeightCharacteristics
1. Leatherback Sea Turtle4-6 feet (130–183 cm)660-1,100 pounds (300-500 kg)The upper jaw is severely notched and features two cusps. The leatherback sea turtle is the only one without a hard shell.

It has a huge, elongated, flexible shell with seven different grooves that traverse the body of the creature.

Unless in hatchlings, the shell is made up of a coating of thin, strong, rubbery covering that is reinforced by hundreds of small bone grafts.

All of the flippers are devoid of nails. The plastron is whitish to black, has 5 grooves, while the shell is dark grey or black with white or light patches.

The exoskeleton of hatchlings has white spots.
2. Green Sea Turtle 3-4 feet (83-114 cm)240-420 pounds (110-190 kg)They are readily distinguishable from other species of sea turtles as they have only one pair of frontal scales next to their eyes.

The head is tiny and rounded, and it has a jagged mouth.

The shell is skeletal but does not have any ridges, and it bears huge scutes that do not overlay one another.

There are only four laterally scutes.

In comparison to Pacific green turtles, this species’ body is roughly oval in shape and has a more flattened appearance.

Every flipper has at least one apparent nail.

The color of the shell ranges from really light green to extremely vivid yellow, brown, and green with projecting lines.

In Atlantic populations, the plastron may be white, dirty white, or yellowish, but in Pacific ones, it has a deep grayish-bluish-green color.

The undersides and borders of the flippers of the hatchlings are white, and they have a deep brown or practically black exterior.
3. Loggerhead Sea Turtle2.5-3.5 feet (80-110 cm)155-375 pounds (70-170 kg)The head is enormous, and it has massive, powerful jaws.

The carapace is composed of bone material and does not have any ridges.

It contains five lateral scutes that are big, rough, and do not overlap one another.

The carapace is in the form of a heart. The front flippers are rather small and stout, and each has two claws.

The back flippers may have either two or three claws.

The plastron is a yellowish-brown color, while the shell is a deep red color.

The hatchlings’ carapaces are a dark brown color, while the borders of their flippers are a lighter brown.
4. Hawksbill Sea turtle2.5-3 feet  (71-89 cm)101-154 lbs (46-70 kg)One of the most little species of marine turtles is the hawksbill.

The skull is long and skinny, and it contains two sets of frontal scales.

The jaw does not have serrations.

The shell is a bony structure that does not have any ridges. It does, however, have enormous, overlapped scales and four lateral scales.

The form of the shell is similar to an ellipse.

Flippers have two claws on each foot. The shells may be orange, brown, or yellow.

Hatchlings are primarily brown with white spots on their scales.
5. Flatback Sea Turtle3.25 feet  (99 cm)198 pounds (90 kg)There is just one pair of frontal scales on the head.

The shell is skeletal but does not have any ridges, and it bears huge scales that do not overlap one another.

There are only four lateral scales.

The body is almost totally smooth, and the shell might be oval or circular. The flipper only has one claw.

The border of the shell is curled inward and coated with waffle-like scales that do not intersect with one another.

The flippers have an off-white color, and the shell is olive-gray with light brown or yellow tints around the borders.

The hatchlings’ scales have a distinct dark-gray tightly coiled pattern, and the middle of each scale has an olive tinted core.
6. Olive Ridley Sea Turtle2-2.5 feet (62-70 cm)77-100 pounds (35-45 kg)The head is not very large.

The shell is made of bone and does not have any ridges, nonetheless, there are huge scales present.

The shell contains at least six lateral scales and is approximately round in shape. It is also smooth.

The shell of this sea turtle is much more extensive than that of the very identical Kemp’s Ridley.

There are either one or two noticeable claws on each of the forward and hind flippers.

There is occasionally an additional claw on the front flippers of the animal.

The young have a coloration similar to charcoal, while adults have a dark gray-green hue.

When wet, hatchlings have a black exterior with a greenish sheen.
7. Kemp Ridley Sea Turtle2 feet (58-66 cm) 70-108 pounds (32-49 kg)The size of the Head is roughly in the shape of a triangle.

The shell is rigid, but it does not have any ridges, instead, it has enormous scales that do not intersect with one another.

The shell is quite spherical and has five lateral scales on it. 

The flippers in front, each feature a single claw, whereas the back flippers might have either one or two claws.

Though grownups have a dark grey-green shell and a white or yellowish plastron, hatchlings are completely black.  

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What Are The Largest Tortoises?

Every adult tortoise was once a little, petite, adorable hatchling at one point in their lives. The majority of them can be held in the flat of your palm with ease. After a few years, they have the potential to develop into huge, ponderous beasts though.

The size and weight of the tortoise you receive could vary depending on the species. There are quite a few tortoises to be found out there.

Galápagos Tortoise

The following is a brief rundown of the standard lengths and weights of adult tortoises. You might observe that male tortoises, on average, tend to grow larger than  females despite the passage of time in most cases.

Type of tortoiseSizeWeightDescription
1. Galápagos tortoises4-5 feet350-550 poundsThey are called the gentle giants.

The biggest live male tortoises may reach over 500 lbs, while the biggest known female tortoises can reach over 350 lbs.

They continue to mature into their adult form till they are between the ages of 40 and 50.

Males are often bigger than their female counterparts, who stand an average of 5 feet in length.

These enormous animals may survive anywhere from 100 to 150 years. 

They pass the majority of their time resting and feeding on cacti and grasslands. 

Generally, their lifespans exceed those of all other vertebrates by a significant margin.
2. Aldabra Tortoise3-4 feet300-500 poundsThe Aldabra tortoise is the biggest breed of tortoise found on the island and the second-biggest species of tortoise found anywhere in the world.

Because of the size of this tortoise, it is possible that you may be required to obtain a license and permission in order to support it.

The neonates are accessible and may be purchased as domesticated animals.

The lovely little newborns will mature into truly enormous tortoises. They will hatch about 2.4 inches and weigh around grams when they first emerge.
3. Sulcata Tortoise3-4 feet80-100 poundsIt is the third-largest tortoise on the planet and may be one of the giant tortoises that are the easiest to find.

Don’t be fooled by the enormous size of this animal since the sulcata tortoise is the sweetest thing you’ll ever meet.

Once again, the rate at which this behemoth matures may vary, but it typically takes between 5 and 10 years for them to reach peak size.

This species of tortoise may reach a length of up to 4 feet and weigh between 80-100lbs at maturity.

All of these giant tortoises have an impressively long lifespan.

If you don’t have the room or the experience of how to properly care for a large pet all your life, then you really should not get this specific breed.
4. Burmese Mountain Tortoise2 feet100 poundsThe mountain tortoise, which is only the fourth biggest species of tortoise in the world, is known by a variety of different names.

Their ancestry may be traced back to the Asian forest tortoise, the Asian brown tortoise, the Burmese brown tortoise, and the Burmese dark tortoise.

Although they only have four legs, this species of tortoise is also known as the six-legged tortoise due to the scales that stick out from their rear legs.

The appearance is comparable to that of the gopher tortoise and the giant sulcata tortoise, however, it is much darker in color and has a different pattern.

The size of hatching is comparable to that of a cricket ball.

This tortoise has the potential to reach a size of one meter in length and 100lbs in weight.
5. Leopard Tortoise10-18 inches44 poundsBecause of its eye-catching markings and colors, this tortoise is a well-liked option for those looking for a medium to large-sized pet tortoises.

The baby tortoises have a length of around a few inches.

If they are cared for properly, they may reach their full mature size or almost adult size in a few months to a year’s time.

People have a tendency to get rather frustrated while waiting for a sluggish species to reach full maturity, which is one reason why is also its selling advantages.

Again, the dimension of such tortoises ranges from 10-18 inches in length and appears to usually be a pretty typical size.

There are occasions when these torts may approach or even reach the size of 20 inches.

This tortoise can weigh up to 40lbs when fully grown.
6. Red- & Yellow-Footed Tortoises10-18 inches20-24 poundsThese red or yellow-footed tortoises are perfect if you’re seeking vibrant colors in a medium-sized tort.

They are a fantastic accessory for a wide variety of tortoise collections.

There are several variances between them, but if you have a bit of practice, you should be able to distinguish among them.

The environments in which the tortoises live, together with any slight coloration or scale variances, are the most significant factors in determining their appearance.

It takes the red-footed tortoise around an inch and a half to two inches to hatch out of its egg.

It grows to its maximum full maturity between 14-18 inches long.

They weigh close to 24lbs, which classifies them as a wonderful example of a standard size tortoise species.
7. Radiated Tortoise12-16 inches30-35 poundsThis type of tortoise is endemic to the southern region of Madagascar.

It may be seen wearing a murky black coloring with gold yellowish markings on its dome-shaped carapace.

The radiated tortoise is often considered to be one of the most desirable species of tortoise around the globe.

They are referred to as the “crown gem”.

The length of a newborn hatchling ranges from around 1.2 to 1.6 inches, and it will grow to a maximum of 16 inches as an adult.

They might potentially reach a phenomenal weight of 35lbs.
8. Marginated Tortoise12 -14 inches9 -11 poundsBecause of its beauty and resilience, the Marginated tortoise is a wonderful choice for a pet for those who have greater expertise with tortoises.

The southernmost regions of Greece and Italy are home to the most attractive individuals of this type of tortoise.

In terms of size, males may measure up to 14 inches, while the majority of females reach a maximum height of between 10-12 inches.

The hatchlings have a size that is about equivalent to a few inches.

When fully grown, they may weigh up to around 25lbs.
9. Indian Star Tortoise7-10 inches4.9 poundsThis tortoise is gorgeous in each and every way imaginable.

In India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, arid places and woods with scrub vegetation are home to these endangered tortoise breeds.

They are an unusual addition to the tortoise family, often boasting a black shell with bright yellow patterns and mottled skin.

Tortoises are known for their spectrum of colors.

There are three known regional varieties of the Star tortoise.

The forms found in northern India and Pakistan are denser in color and bigger in size compared to many other variants.

In general, female Sri Lankan Star tortoises may reach a length of 10 inches, whereas males may only reach a length of seven inches.

The Indian Star tortoise, on the other hand, is most apt to be around two inches smaller than the average size.

The average height of a female is inches, whereas a male’s typical height is five inches.

When fully grown, the Indian star tortoise has a weight of around 4.9lbs and is considered to be a very robust species of tortoise.

The newborns seem to be around an inch in height, and they mature into adults after having fifty years of life.

The longest star tortoise ever recorded was roughly fifteen inches long.
10. Elongated Tortoise12 inches7 poundsThey are often referred to as the golden tortoise by most people.

The hatchling size of an elongated tortoise is between one and two inches.

They may reach a length of between 12 and 24 inches during the course of their lifetime.

These adorable tiny creatures may reach up to seven lbs each.

The female tortoises have a broader body and a more rounded appearance than their male counterparts.

The young of each type of tortoise is really fairly distinct in colors and designs from one another, which makes it fascinating to see the process by which they hatch.

Because they originate in thickly forested locations, the adults are able to thrive in settings that are somewhat colder.

Many people, particularly those who live in colder locations, may find the tortoise an excellent species to have as a pet.
11. Hermann’s Tortoise7.5 inches7.5 poundsMost people who are interested in tortoises keep Hermann’s tortoises since they are the most popular kind.

There are two varieties of this species, which are known as the western and the eastern Hermann’s tortoise, respectively.

When they hatch, they are around an inch long, similar in size to several other types. they have really slow and steady growth that can only reach a maximum size in the range of 7.5 inches when fully mature.

The Hermann’s tortoise is a wonderful tiny tortoise that everyone can take care of since its demeanor is so pleasant and its maintenance needs are so simple. 

Female tortoises of a given species are typically 10-12% bigger than males of the same breed.
12. Russian Tortoise8-10 inches3 poundsOne of the kinds of tortoise that is most frequently accessible is the Russian tortoise, which is also usually referred to as an Afghan tortoise.

This tortoise may be really wonderful, and it may be simple to get this tortoise through the pet exchange.

They make wonderful pets for both inexperienced and experienced owners, each in its own unique way.

The affable and laid-back demeanor of these torts is perhaps one of its most endearing qualities.

A hatchling is about an inch long.

They may grow to be between 8-10 inches long.

Many Russian tortoises weigh approximately 3 lbs.

Males are likely to be somewhat smaller than females, with a 1-2 inch disparity in height.

How Big Can The Biggest Turtle Get?

The length of a mature leatherback turtle may range anywhere from 5 to 6 feet on ordinary. But we can assume that a leatherback turtle has the potential to become much larger.

On September 23rd, 1988, a male leatherback turtle measuring 9 feet and 512 inches in length was discovered on the seashore at Harlech, Gwynedd.

There is a possibility that there is another turtle that is even larger out there, but so far none of them have been located.

Because only female leatherback turtles leave the water to lay their eggs, this means that 50 % of the leatherback turtles never exit the water. As a result, it is somewhat more difficult to determine whether or not there are any larger turtles in the seas at the present time.

The Galapagos Tortoise

The Galapagos tortoise is the biggest kind of tortoise in the world. There are 15 different species of Galapagos tortoise, however, only about 12 of them are living today.

All the kinds are having trouble surviving and are slowly creeping towards extinction. There is a concern for each and every species, and some of them are in a very precarious position.

The gigantic tortoises that live in the Galapagos Islands are notable for a number of reasons, including their very long lifespans, sluggish speeds, and enormous sizes.

It is not uncommon for Galapagos tortoises to weigh several hundred pounds, making them the largest species of tortoise in the world.

The males are much bigger than the females and may weigh up to 500 lb (227 kg), whilst females are around 250 lb (113kg).

As examined from top to bottom, this tortoise has the potential to reach a length of up to 1.8 m (or 6 feet). Their breadth is around 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 kilogram), with females being somewhat more diminutive in size.

Because they are so massive, they have lengthy, stocky limbs that assist them in carrying their weight. The honeycomb-like parts of its massive shell give it a distinctive appearance.

They have lengthy necks, and their jaws are pointed so that they can feed efficiently. The Galapagos tortoise is comprised of many distinct species, each of which accounts for its own unique characteristics.

Each species is perfectly adapted to its environment inside the island that it inhabits. They are herbivores who consume the many different kinds of fruits and flora that are native to their area.

Goliath was the Galapagos tortoise (Source: Guinness World Records)

The Largest Tortoise Ever Recorded

Goliath was the Galapagos tortoise with the greatest size ever documented. He was a staggering 919 pounds in weight (417kg).

As a point of reference, the biggest tiger that has ever been documented was a Siberian tiger that was maintained in captivity and weighed 932 pounds. It is just to say, the biggest tortoise was around the same size as the most fearsome predators that the world has ever seen!

Goliath had a length of 4.5 feet (135.8 centimeters) and a width of 3.4 feet (102 centimeters). Goliath was born in 1960 and passed away in 2002, making his lifespan rather young for a tortoise.

The Life Fellowship Bird Sanctuary in Florida served as his home when he was there. Goliath was enormous, even by the standards of Galapagos tortoises.

Nearly 181 kg (400 pounds) more than the typical size of other tortoises of its kind, he dwarfed their ordinary stature.

The Largest Sea Turtle Ever Recorded

According to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, the largest leatherback turtle that was discovered was about three meters in length and weighed 2,019 pounds (916 kg). Its length was approximately ten feet.

However, the measurement used to determine the Guinness world record shows a tiny bit of fluctuation.

The Guinness Book of World Records states that the male leatherback turtle that was discovered dead on the beach at Harlech, Gwynedd, on September 23, 1988 holds the record for the biggest leatherback ever recorded.

Its overall length across the carapace was 2.91 meters (9 feet 512 inches), its width across the front flippers measured 2.77 meters (9 feet), and it weighed 961.1 kg (2,120 lb).

This specimen was placed on show at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, United Kingdom, on February 16, 1990, despite the fact that most museums do not show giant turtles due to the fact that they may continue to leak oil for up to half a century.

Archelon Turtle

Archelon Turtles

The greatest example of the ancient sea turtle known as Archelon measured 5 meters (16 feet) from edge to edge and weighed 2,200 kilograms (4,900 pounds) in total body mass.

Archelon lived during the Late Cretaceous period and was the greatest turtle that had ever been recorded.

The fossilized bones of the ancient enormous marine turtle known as Archelon were discovered within stones that were formed during the Late Cretaceous period in North America (100 million to 66 million years ago).

Archelon, which was shielded by a carapace that was comparable to those seen in current turtles, grew to be around 3.5 meters in length (12 feet).

The forefeet of Archelon developed into strong structures that were capable of propelling the large mass of the creature into the water with tremendous efficiency.

Conclusion

There is a wide range of sizes seen in marine turtles. The tiniest of them are around the size of china plates, whereas the leatherback turtles, which are the biggest, may grow up to nearly the length of a golf cart.

On the other hand, you should be able to fit several tortoises in your hand. However, over time they mature into massive and ponderous beings.

In contrast, the prehistoric turtles were far larger and more robust than their younger counterparts. The gigantic sea turtle known as Archelon existed in the Cretaceous era from 80 to 66 million years ago.

It reached lengths of approximately 16 feet and is considered to be one of the biggest sea turtles that have ever existed anywhere in the world. In comparison, the leatherback sea turtle’s length of six feet seems to be relatively petite.

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.

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