Giant Land Tortoise
Geochelone (Hesperotestudo) crassiscutata
The Giant Land Tortoise was as large as or larger than the Galapagos Islands reptile cousin and was the common Pleistocene Tortoise of Florida. This Land Turtle could get up to 6 foot in length and weigh as much as 500-600 lbs.
The modern Galapagos Tortoise can live to around 200 years old and is considered one of the oldest living creatures on the planet. Their diet consists of leaves, grasses, cactus, fruits, lichen and carrion.
Due to the moderate climate during the warm phase of the Ice Age or Pleistocene Period, they did well in Florida, but became extinct later.
The fossil record suggests that early prehistoric people (Paleo-Indians), of Florida, lived here with the giant beasts and hunted them for food.
It is a land crawling reptile and its shell protects it against predators. The top part, of the shell, is called the Carapace (the part most often fossilized) and the bottom part, the Plastron.
The legs and tails of these reptiles are protected by a bony armor or scutes of different shapes and sizes. These scutes often become fossilized and are found in many Florida Rivers.
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