The Galapagos Tortoise is very common in the Galapagos. They are found mainly in the highlands but often travel to lower elevations during the warm/wet season. The Galapagos Tortoise is endemic to the Galapagos; fourteen subspecies have been found, although eleven of these still survive. These are the subspecies names: abingdoni (now extinct in the wild), becki, chathamensis, darwini, elephantopus, ehippium, hoodensis, micropyes, porteri, vandenburghi, guntheri.
The Galapagos Tortoise exhibits tow distinct carapace shapes: dome-shelled and saddle-backed. The dome-shelled subspecies (chathamensis, elephantopus, guntheri, porteri, and vandenburgh) generally have shorter legs and necks than the saddle-backed subspecies. The saddle-backed subspecies (abindgoni, ephippium, and hoodensis) have a narrowed carapace at the rear end and a long neck. The carapace of subspecies microphyes and darwini are intermediate in shape, being rather flattened, although ther are not elevated at the front. The carapace shape of subspecies becki is very variable, some individuals being dome-shaped, others flattened, and others distinctly saddleback-shaped.
In all subspecies of the Galapagos Tortoise, the sexes are alike. The only differences are that males are much larger than the female, have a concave plastron (ventral plate), and a longer and thicker tail.
Mating of the Galapagos Tortoises may occur in almost any month of the year and reach a peak during the warm/wet season, with eggs hatching between December and April. Sexual maturity is attained at the age of about 20 to 25 years. The Galapagos Tortoise can live up to 150 years, the tortoise pictured above is between 80 to 90 years of age.