A World of Tortoises

Global distribution of family “Testudinidae”


  • Indotestudo elongata — Elongated tortoise (Southeast Asia and parts of India)
  • Indotestudo forstenii — Sulawesi (or Forsten’s) tortoise (Indonesia)
  • Indotestudo travancorica — Travancore tortoise (India)
  • Manouria emys — Asian forest tortoise (southern and southeastern Asia)
  • Manouria impressa — Impressed tortoise (mountains of Southeast Asia)
  • Geochelone elegans — Indian star tortoise (India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka)
  • Geochelone platynota — Burmese star tortoise (Myanmar)

Indian Ocean

  • Aldabrachelys gigantea — Aldabra tortoise (Aldabra atoll, Seychelles)
  • Astrochelys radiata — Radiated tortoise (Madagascar)
  • Astrochelys yniphora — Ploughshare tortoise (Madagascar)
  • Pyxis arachnoides — Spider tortoise (Madagascar)
  • Pyxis planicauda — Flat-tailed tortoise (Madagascar)


  • Centrochelys sulcata — Sulcata (or African spurred) tortoise (Africa, Sahel region)
  • Chersina angulata — Bowsprit tortoise (Namibia and South Africa)
  • Chersobius boulengeri — Karoo padloper (South Africa)
  • Chersobius signatus — Speckled Namaqualand padloper (South Africa)
  • Chersobius solus — Nama padloper (Namibia and South Africa)
  • Homopus aerolatus — Parrot-beaked tortoise (South Africa)
  • Homopus femoralis — Greater padloper (South Africa)
  • Kinixys belliana — Bell’s hinge-back tortoise (central Africa)
  • Kinixys erosa — Forest hinge-back tortoise (central and western Africa)
  • Kinixys homeana — Home’s hinge-back tortoise (western Africa)
  • Kinixys lobatsiana — Lobatse hinge-back tortoise (southern Africa)
  • Kinixys natalensis — Natal hinge-back tortoise (eastern southern Africa)
  • Kinixys spekii — Speke’s hinge-back tortoise (East Africa)
  • Kinixys nogueyi — Western hinge-back tortoise (tropical western Africa)*
  • Kinixys zombensis — Eastern hinge-back tortoise (eastern southern Africa)*
    • * Considered by some researchers to be subspecies of K. belliana.
  • Malacochersus tornieri — Pancake tortoise (Kenya & Tanzania)
  • Psammobates geometricus — Geometric tortoise (southern Africa)
  • Psammobates oculifer — Serrated tortoise (southern Africa)
  • Psammobates tentorius — Tent tortoise (southern Africa)
  • Stigmochelys pardalis — Leopard tortoise (eastern and southern Africa)


  • Testudo graeca — Greek or spur-thighed tortoise (North Africa and southern Spain)
  • Testudo kleinmannii — Egyptian tortoise (Egypt, Libya, and Israel)
  • Testudo marginata — Marginated tortoise (Southern Europe)
  • Testudo horsfieldii — Russian tortoise (Central Asia)
  • Testudo hermanni — Hermann’s tortoise (southern Europe)
    • Note: The taxonomy of the Mediterranean tortoise group is unsettled due to their vast range around the Mediterranean Ocean, and the various terrains, climates, and biotopes across three continents.

North America

  • Gopherus agassizii — Agassiz’s desert tortoise (Mojave desert)
  • Gopherus berlandieri — Texas tortoise (Texas)
  • Gopherus evgoodei – Sinaloan (or Goode’s) thornscrub tortoise (Mexico)
  • Gopherus flavomarginatus — Bolsón tortoise (Chihuahuan desert)
  • Gopherus morafkai — Morafka’s desert tortoise (Sonoran desert)
  • Gopherus polyphemus — Gopher tortoise (southeastern United States)

South America

  • Chelonoidis carbonarius — Red-footed tortoise (Amazon basin)
  • Chelonoidis chilensis — Chaco tortoise (Patagonia region of Argentina)
  • Chelonoidis denticulatus — Yellow-footed tortoise (Amazon basin)
  • Chelonoidis niger* — Galápagos tortoise – with 12 living subspecies:
    • C. n. becki — Volcán Wolf giant tortoise (Isabela island)
    • C. n. chathamensis — San Cristóbal giant tortoise (San Cristóbal island)
    • C. n. darwini — Santiago Island giant tortoise (Santiago island)
    • C. n. donfaustoi — Eastern Santa Cruz tortoise (Santa Cruz island)
    • C. n. duncanensis — Pinzón Island giant tortoise (Pinzón island)
    • C. n. guentheri — Sierra Negra giant tortoise (Isabela island)
    • C. n. hoodensis — Hood Island giant tortoise (Española island)
    • C. n. microphyes — Volcán Darwin giant tortoise (Isabela island)
    • C. n. phantasticus — Fernandina Island tortoise (Fernandina Island)
    • C. n. porteri — Western Santa Cruz tortoise (Santa Cruz island)
    • C. n. vandenburghi — Volcán Alcedo giant tortoise (Isabela island)
    • C. n. vicina — Cerro Azul giant tortoise (Isabela island)
      • *The Turtle Taxonomy Working Group in 2021 released a study supporting classification as subspecies due to genetic analysis, although some researchers consider the subspecies each to be a species. The taxonomic status of this group of tortoises is not fully resolved.

Sources:Turtles of the World: A Guide to Every Family” by Jeff Lovich and Whit Gibbons; additional expert and internet sources.