Aldabra Tortoise

Aldabrachelys gigantea

Island Giant

Aldabra tortoises have a similar role in their habitat as elephants do in Africa and Asia. These tortoises are the largest consumer of vegetation, and will often knock over small trees in search for food. They shape the habitat, creating small pathways and clearings for other animals.

About the Species

The Aldabra tortoise, along with 18 other species of tortoise, used to be found all over the islands of the Indian Ocean.

The Aldabra tortoise is the only remaining tortoise in the small islands of the Indian Ocean. Tortoises were a major food source for sailors in the 19th century. Additionally, introduced pest species, such as rats, pigs, and cats, decimated the native tortoises, as they prey upon eggs and hatchlings. Charles Darwin himself helped establish a captive breeding program for the Aldabra tortoise on the island of Mauritius, and helped to protect some of the remaining natural habitat. Therefore, the Aldabra tortoise is one of the first species to receive special protection to ensure its survival.

Words From the Experts

Quotes

This Aldabra tortoise is the second largest species of tortoise in the world, only second to the Galapagos tortoise.

Heather

Did You Know?

These tortoises have extremely long necks, in order to help reach leaves on branches up to 3 or 4 feet high. These tortoises may even knock over small trees and shrubs.

Facts

Origin

The Seychelles Atoll, north of Madagascar

Habitat

Grasslands, scrublands, coastal dunes, mangrove swamps

Size

Over 3 feet long, females may weigh up to 250 pounds, and males may weigh 500+ pounds

Diet

Grass, plant materials, and occasionally carrion

Predators

Eggs and hatchlings may be preyed upon.

Natural Defenses

Thick shell and sheer size make this animal extremely well protected

Reproduction

Average clutch size is between 10-25 eggs

Status

Vulnerable

Life Expectancy

Over 100 years

  • Saving Animals From Extinction
  • Culture Builds Florida
  • Florida Association of Zoos and Aquariums
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