males – 47 inches; females – 35 inches
males – 551 pounds, females – 330 pounds
over 100 years of age
Primarily herbivores they eat grasses, leaves, and woody plant stems but may eat some small invertebrates.
Humans, rats, cats, pigs
The main population of the Aldabra Giant Tortoise resides on the islands of the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles. Another population of the species resides on the island of Zanzibar.
The tortoises use many different kinds of habitat including grasslands, low scrub, mangrove swamps, and coastal dunes.
The carapace is a dark blue and/or black color with a high domed round shape. The tail, head, neck, and limbs are gray. Males have larger and longer tails than the females. It has stocky legs to support its heavy body with a very long neck which helps the tortoises exploit tree branches up to 3 feet from the ground as a food source.
Aldabra tortoises are generally solitary animals but they can be social and may gather in herds, which can be found in open grasslands. They are diurnal although they are most active in the mornings when they spend time browsing for food. They dig underground burrows or rest in swamps to keep cool during the heat of the day.They are naturally buoyant and therefore are excellent swimmers. They obtain most of their moisture from their food since fresh water is lacking in their natural environments.In the case of danger, the turtle is able to pull its body into its thick shell for protection.
Aldabra Giant Tortoises reach sexual maturity when they attain about half their final adult size. Between February and May, females lay between 9 and 25 eggs in a shallow, dry nest although these laying dates may vary in captivity. Usually less than half of the eggs are fertile. Females can produce multiple clutches of 9 to 24 eggs in a year. After incubating for about 8 months, the tiny, independent young hatch between October and December.
Habitat destruction, over harvesting, introduction of predators and competitors.
ANIMAL FUN FACT!
As the largest animal in its environment, the Aldabra tortoise performs a role similar to that of an elephant. In their search for food these tortoises may fell trees and create pathways used by other animals just as elephants do in the African savanna.
Sexual maturity in these tortoises may be determined by size, not by age.
Adwaitya, an Aldabra tortoise that made it’s home in the Kolkata zoo, is reputed to have reached the longest ever measured life-span of 255 years (birth year 1750).