Hoaxes & Rumors

Is This the World’s Largest Tortoise?

Is This the World’s Largest Tortoise?

An image allegedly shows the world’s largest tortoise with an age of over 500 years being hauled on the back of a truck. Is the photo real or fake?

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It is not a real tortoise.

The photo in circulation often contains a caption such as, “Guys the worlds largest tortoise found in amazon river. Its age around 529/ height-59/ weight-800 pounds… incredible naturality please spread this into all over the world….”

What you are seeing, however, is not the world’s largest tortoise. The photo is actually of a movie prop. This giant – and fake – tortoise was featured in the 2006 Japanese movie “Gamera the Brave.” It appears that the photo was lifted from a website which features other photos from the film. A phony back-story was then included with the photo. A crude translation of the description of the film reads:

In a small fishing village, a young Gracon discovers an egg. Then comes a small turtle that is not like the others, it is a Gamera: an animal of great power that continues to grow. While her foster family tries to protect society against a new threat is emerging. The young Gamera can he save the village?

What is the world’s largest tortoise?

The fake photo above often yields the question as to the world’s largest tortoise. That title would appear to belong to the Galápagos Tortoise. While this tortoise does not quite match the 529-year or 800-pound numbers cited with the fake photo above, the  Galápagos tortoise can live to 150 years and reach 550 pounds.

world's largest tortoise

This vintage photo shows 19th century zoologist Walter Rothschild on a Galápagos tortoise.

Bottom Line

The photo of the “world’s largest tortoise” is actually of a movie prop from 2006. The world’s largest tortoise can reach 5 feet and 550 pounds, but does not live to 500+ years as the fake caption states.

Updated December 14, 2014
Originally published August 2012

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