Do Tortoises Have Opposable Thumbs

Do Tortoises Have Opposable Thumbs? Get the Answer Here

Tortoises are a one-of-a-kind species that have always made us curious to know more about them. One such curiosity that has arisen recently is people wanting to know whether tortoises have opposing thumbs like humans.

What do you think? Do tortoises have opposable thumbs? Well, they do not! Just like turtles, tortoises do not have opposable thumbs. Instead, they have column-like limbs that allow them to walk on earth and dig soil. They do not need to grasp items in their day-to-day life; therefore, opposable thumbs are redundant for them.

Keep reading on to learn more about how tortoises get by their life being thumbless and what other animals have opposable thumbs. 

What Are Opposable Thumbs?


Opposable thumbs are thumbs that can be easily placed on the opposite side of the fingers in the same hand. 

They are evolutionary traits that have evolved in many primates, such as humans and monkeys. Opposable thumbs allow these primates to grasp things and use them with the help of fine motor skills. 

What Are Opposable Thumbs

These thumbs enable the use of various tools around us and allow us to complete day-to-day tasks such as writing and the use of computers. The evolution of thumbs in humans has allowed them to effectively make use of their environment. It is considered to be a very important factor in the advancement of the human race

Why Don’t Tortoises Have Opposable Thumbs?

Different animals and species in the animal kingdom follow different evolutionary paths. This is one reason which justifies tortoises not having opposable thumbs like humans or other primates.

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Tortoises do not have the need to grasp items or manipulate their environment. Their limbs are there to only support their weight, help them to walk, and carry out digging wherever required. 

Why Don’t Tortoises Have Opposable Thumbs

Tortoises have obtained these limbs through years of evolution. If they ever needed opposable thumbs, their evolutionary path would have granted them a set of thumbs. 

What Other Animal Has Opposable Thumbs?

Other than humans, primates such as monkeys, apes, and lemurs have opposable thumbs. They use their thumbs to grasp branches to hang from trees or to jump from one tree to another. Thumbs are also needed by them to harvest food from trees. 

There are other animals other than primates that have opposable thumbs. Some of the animals are Pandas, Opossums, Koalas, and Sugar Gliders. They have thumb-like structures that resemble a human thumb but are not so developed. 

What Other Animal Has Opposable Thumbs

These animals also use their thumbs for the same reason as monkeys. They either use them to climb trees or use them to make it easy for them to eat food. For example, Pandas use their thumbs to strip off leaves from bamboo stalks. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Below, you can check out some queries about tortoises and opposable thumbs.

Q: Does A Turtle Have Opposable Thumbs?

Turtles do not have opposable thumbs, just like tortoises. Their limbs have evolved to allow them to swim smoothly in water and walk on earth. They do not have a requirement of opposable thumbs. 

Q: Do Any Reptiles Have Opposable Thumbs?

No, reptiles do not have opposable thumbs. They have different limbs that are catered to serve their needs and lifestyles. 


Mother Nature has formed each animal with everything it needs to survive. If ever they needed to adapt, nature has revolutionized them. Tortoises might seem slow and lazy, but do know that they are smart creatures. 

Their lack of opposable thumbs does not stop them from effectively protecting themselves and scavenging for food to survive. 

We hope this guide has been crucial for you to understand the lack of opposing thumbs in tortoises and how they survive without them.

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