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What Tortoises Feel When We Touch Them

Oct 24, 2015 By Jake Brannon

It is widely known that dogs and cats respond well to human touch, but what about other animals? This was the question that inspired the Smithsonian to investigate whether or not tortoises enjoyed being touched by humans. 

One of the most common misconceptions about tortoises is that they can't feel their shells. Since they provide protection, people assume tortoises are disconnected from their shells, instead of them being an extension of their bodies. With this myth cleared up, Reptile Biologist Matt Evans walks us through the different tactile sensations that tortoises enjoy. As it turns out, they love having their necks rubbed just like our dogs.

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