JOHN BEATTY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN BEATTY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Galapagos tortoise. View of a giant Galapagos tortoise (Geochelone elephantopus) overlooking the Alcedo volcanic crater on Isabela Island, part of the Ecuadorian Galapagos Islands. These giant tortoises live only on the Galapagos Islands, inhabiting dry, warm lava soils and regularly venturing to the moist highlands to drink and eat plants. The paths they use for these journeys have been worn smooth by countless generations of tortoises. Some adults may grow to over 1.5 metres in length, and weigh almost 250 kilograms. There used to be vast numbers of giant tortoises on these islands, but the arrival of humans led to a severe reduction in their numbers.
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