Science Says: Tortoises Love To Be Touched!

Do you ever lie awake at night desperately wondering if tortoises have sensory receptors in their shells? Have you ever caught yourself questioning—perhaps during a long work meeting, or while enduring a family dinner—if tortoises want to be petted as much as you'd like to pet them?

If so, good news: The mystery is solved!

In the Smithsonian Channel's latest video, straightforwardly named "Do Tortoises Like Being Touched?," biologist Matt Evans reveals the softer side of tortoises. While they look like an unfortunate mash-up between a George Lucas creation and a rotund dinosaur, it turns they're not only eminently lovable, but just want to be loved.

Evans illustrates that tortoises can feel it when their shells are touched, although they do experience it as a different sensation than if their body is petted.

[Awww, look how the tortoise raises its neck when Evans pets it! Awww!]

Also worth noting is that tortoises straight-up having their necks scratched and pet.

[Awww, look at the tortoise smack its lips! Who knew tortoises have lips?! Awww!]

Smithsonian researchers assert that, in fact, cold-blooded critters can be just as charismatic as warm-blooded animals. Which leads us to wonder: Are tortoises the new puppy?

Now you've got something else to keep you up at night.

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