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 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.
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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Safe travels… Noela