Giant tortoise

Species profile

Name: there are several types of giant tortoise alive today including the Aldabra giant tortoise which lives in the Seychelles and the Galapagos giant tortoise, of which there are 12 still surviving species. There are also several species of giant tortoise which are now extinct.

Appearance: they have long necks which they use for grasping leaves from trees; thick, short legs; and round, flat feet. Their soft underparts are protected by a thick shell of which there are two main types: the saddle-back and the domed shell.

Size: they can weigh over 400 kg and can grow to be 1.3 m long.

Diet: giant tortoises are herbivores, feeding on cactuses, grasses, and native fruits. They drink large quantities of water which they can store in their bladders for long periods of time.

Did you know: giant tortoises are among the world’s longest-living animals, with an average lifespan of 100 years. On 23 March 2006, an Aldabra giant tortoise named Adwaita died at Alipore Zoological Gardens in Kolkata. He was brought to the zoo in the 1870s and is thought to have been around 255 years old when he died.

Location: they are currently found on two groups of tropical islands: the Aldabra Atoll and Fregate Island in the Seychelles; and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.

Best places to see giant tortoises

According to reports submitted to WildSide, the best places to see giant tortoises are as follows:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Galapagos Islands
very high
very good

Photo credit: Alexas_Fotos under a Creative Commons license from Pixabay

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