Meeting the Galapagos Tortoise in the wild: A story of discovery from a nine-year old

I’m about to go to a Tortoise Sanctuary in Ecuador, on the continent of South America, and I wonder what I might see there.  

Oh dear me, I am so bad mannered.  My name is Rob, I’m nine years old and I am excited to be going to a Tortoise Sanctuary today.  I’m hoping to meet the huge Galapagos Tortoises that live in the wild on the Galapagos Islands!

While we are getting ready, I thought how the Galapagos Tortoise might look.  I think of a large shell, a small head, and very strong legs to lift a very heavy shell.   

As we are packing our bags, I’m feeling happy and sad at the same time.  We have had such a great time in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, but it means I’ll go to one of my all-time favourites, the GALAPAGOS Islands!!!! 

I am going to see the Galapagos Tortoise and I am excited and awestruck!  I pop my thought bubble with my finger because we are in a rush. 

Touching down on the rocky red Earth of Galapagos, I feel like I am HOME!  The landscape reminds me of the Northern Territory of Australia.  I think ‘what a lucky Tortoise to live here’.  I also can’t wait to see them.

The next day we go to the Tortoise Sanctuary.  I look around wildly to see a Galapagos Tortoise until … I finally see one!   I am now very excited!

I see a Galapagos Tortoise in the wild!

I rolled a fig (fruit) to the gigantic Tortoise.  It was a bit frightened by my action, so it hid.  It was quite funny watching the Tortoise get into his shell, for him it was a bit like pulling up a shirt.  These Tortoises can escape any time from the sanctuary, but they don’t because they like the Juicy figs that grow here.

Before visiting the sanctuary, I have already learnt a lot of information about them.  There are two types of Galapagos Tortoises – the Saddle Back and Domed Tortoises.  

Look at the little babies.


Saddle Backs have long necks so they can reach high leaves up on trees.  The Domed Tortoise instead of looking up for the leaves up high, it looks down and eats the cool juicy leaves on the ground.  Their shells have grown to suit their way of eating over thousands of years.  Both shells look very different. 

Here’s another fun fact about Saddle Back Tortoises.  When the Spaniard’s found the Galapagos Island, their horse’s saddles looked a lot like the shells of the saddle back tortoise.  In Spanish, the name for a horses saddle was Galapagos.  That is where the Galapagos Islands got its name.

That day, I learned that most Galapagos Tortoises live to up to 200 years of age and they are an enormous herbivore!   The Tortoises shells even have hexagons on them which are actually their age marks. 

I am feeling awesome because I have always wanted to see a Giant Land-based Tortoise.  I have seen so many cool pictures of them, and now I have seen them for myself. 

I’m ever so grateful to see these extremely rare, bizarre and beautiful creatures in the wild!  

I’ll probably be bragging for the rest of my life.


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Rob works hard to constantly improve his writing.  Please give him your feedback and most importantly, your encouragement!

Safe travels… Noela

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  1. Rob, thank you for your interesting story; I too have always wanted to see the Galapagos Tortoise in its natural environment & your story made your experience very real & up-close for me.
    Like you, I try to describe my thoughts & experiences in written words & though I struggle sometimes, I think it is a worthwhile thing to do. Imagine how boring life would be without any books to read ?!?
    I particularly liked the way you worded most of your story in the present tense, ‘I am going’ ‘I am feeling’ & so on, I think thats one of the reasons it felt so real & close to me.
    I’m sure you’ll have many more adventures to come so good luck & I hope the writing flows smoothly!!!

  2. Well written Rob. I love the way you have written your exact thoughts and and made it very exciting to read.keep up the great work.

  3. I enjoyed your story Rob, it was well structured an interesting beginning that is important and a great finish. I look forward to more of your adventures.

  4. Great work Rob!!! This was a great piece of writing and really interesting. Do you do all your stories in written form first or do you type them up straight onto the computer. I ask this as I have a grade 5 Home Schooled son and he really struggles to get his thoughts onto paper but finds it easier to type them out.
    Keep up the amazing writing and the super fun adventures.
    I am very jealous of your time in the Galapagos.

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