Turtles and tortoises are quite similar and belong to the same order of reptiles called testudines, which is from a Latin word meaning shell. When talking about the differences between the two, it’s important to note that they are actually both turtles. Turtles can be mostly aquatic, meaning they spend the majority of their lives in the water. They can be semi-aquatic and spend time on both land and in the water. And they can be terrestrial, spending their entire lives on land. The term tortoise is reserved for turtles that are terrestrial in nature and not adapted for swimming or living in water. However you look at it, they are all turtles and all have one important thing in common - a carapace and plastron (upper and lower shell, respectively) that connect on the sides and protect the turtle’s soft interior. This is important for an animal that is as slow as molasses when walking on land.