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Scientific Name: 
Geochelone nigra
Phylum: 
Chordata
Species class: 
Reptilia
Order: 
Testudines
Genus: 
Geochelone
Species: 
Geochelone nigra
Status: 
Vulnerable

Galapagos Tortoises are the largest tortoises in the world. They are commonly split into two groups depending on the shape of their shell or ‘carapace’, although some believe that there are intermediate varieties as well. The Saddle-back Carapace has a curved shell front which allows the tortoise’s neck to extend and reach food in higher places. There are 14 recognised subspecies of Galapagos Tortoise, three of which are extinct. In the past, nearly 200,000 tortoises were taken from the island by sailors and pirates for food. Today, there are less than 20,000 tortoises living on the Galapagos archipelago. Introduced species are now the greatest threats to these tortoises. Pigs, cats and dogs eat tortoise eggs and hatchlings. Competition from feral goats and cattle has caused a shortage of food. Introduced rats will also eat hatchlings and cause sometimes fatal injury to the adults.

Region: 
Source: 
www.iucnredlist.org
Year assessed: 
1996