Tortoises are terrestrial reptiles and are part of the turtle family. Unlike other members of the turtle family, tortoises cannot swim. They have tough claws for digging instead of webbed feet. Their heads and legs can be withdrawn into the protection of their shells. Tortoises can be found in a number of habitats. The vast majority are found in semi-arid zones. They can also inhabit deserts, grasslands, mountainsides, scrub forests and sand dunes. In general, tortoises will eat grass, flowers, leafy plants and cactus. Tortoises are found in southern North America, Central America and South America. Species are also found from Africa and Europe to Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as Madagascar and other islands.
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