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The tortoise is a terrestrial reptile that is closely related to the aquatic turtles. It is best known for its slow, deliberate movement and protective shell, which it retracts into when threatened. Tortoises are herbivorous (plant eaters), and hibernate during winter. They vary greatly in size from a couple centimeters to two meters.
The tortoise is an animal that is protected by a shell. The carapace is the top part of the shell while the underside is the plastron. The two parts of the shell are connected by the bridge. They have both an exoskeleton and a endoskeleton and they can vary in size from a couple centimeters to two meters.
Tortoises will mate anytime that they are not hibernating  (Tortoises hibernate from November to March ). When tortoises court, the male will bob his head at the female and nip at the edges of her shell and at her front leg. This causes the female to stand still and pull her body into her shell. After the female does this, the male will move to the back and mount her. After mating, the female stores the sperm and is able to lay fertile eggs more than a year later. 
The tortoise lays eggs from May to about mid July, sometimes a tortoise will lay two clutches several weeks apart. The eggs will incubate between ninety and a hundred-ten days apart. The number of days depends on the temperature of the nest. The female will dig a nest using her hind legs that is about four inches deep and is often inside the burrow.
A female will lay about four to six eggs, depending on her size. The eggs are dull white, hard shelled, and about the size of a ping-pong ball. The female, using her hind legs, will cover her eggs after laying them and then shows no more interest in the eggs or the hatchlings. Hatching happens between August and October. Hatchlings will break out of their shells by using their front beak. They are born with an embryonic egg sac, which hey can eat while staying underground for a few days. Hatchlings are usually about two inches once they come out of their nest. Their shells are very soft but they are also ready to live outside on their own without any parents to take care of them. 
Tortoises are herbivorous  and will come out of their burrows mid-March to eat plants. They will eat fresh grass and wildflowers. They will also eat dry grass stems and cactus pads when it is dryer. Tortoises are found in rocky terrain, bajadas, and alluvial fans. They also need soils that they are able to dig into for their burrows.
Tortoise at Santa Cruz, Galápagos Islands