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Tortoises, turtles, and terrapins are among the oldest living creatures on the planet. For 250 million years they have roamed the earth, adapting to both land and sea. With a tough hide and a mighty shell, they have few natural predators.
Apparently with great age has come great intelligence, as they are also among the smartest members of the reptile family. In intelligence tests, they have demonstrated the ability to imitate, and they perform as well as rats in maze tests.
Zoos can be particularly difficult environments for intelligent animals. The man-made environment can be very limiting and, in the case of the awkwardly shaped tortoise, wrought with hazards. However, when difficult situations arise, these gentle giants do what they have been doing for millions of years – they get by with a little help from their friends!
As if there weren’t enough reasons to love tortoises, this awesome video gives us a look at how kind and helpful they can be towards each other, showing off their character at its finest! By removing them from busy roads and reporting disturbed nesting grounds and illegal sales to local animal authorities, you too can play a part in the preservation of this amazing species, passing them down for future generations to observe.