Galapagos Tortoise

Galapagos Tortoise

Galapagos Tortoise
Chelonoidis nigra


CLASS
Reptilia
ORDER
Testudines
FAMILY
Testudinidae

Range

Galápagos Islands, 600 miles west of Ecuador


Habitat

Open, grassy areas to rocky, volcanic outcrops


Diet

Prickly pear cactus and fruits; flowers, leaves, and grasses

Weight

MALE Up to 575 lbs.
FEMALE Up to 300 lbs.

Head to Tail

Up to 6 ft.

Shell Width

4 - 5 ft.

Incubation

85 - 200 days

Clutch

2 - 16 eggs

IUCN Status

Vulnerable

Facts

  • They are the largest living tortoises in the world, and can live to be over 100 years old.
  • Diurnal (active during the day)
  • They are slow-moving animals, moving only 0.16 miles per hour.
  • Their lower jaws are covered by horny ridges with serrated edges that help them cut through tough plants.
  • They allow Darwin's finches to glean parasites from their bodies.
  • Their shells are made up of honeycomb structures that enclose small air chambers. This makes it possible for the tortoises to carry the weight of the shell. The shell does not have a hinge.
  • They weigh 3 oz. at hatching.

 

Conservation

These giant tortoise were nearly wiped out by sailors who killed them for food. Laws are now in place to protect this species.

Today, the greatest threats to the tortoises come from introduced nonnative species to the islands, such as rats, dogs, and cats, which eat tortoise eggs and young tortoises. Also goats and cattle compete with them for available food.

Vulnerable

Open Daily 9 am - 5 pm

Closed only Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year's Day

Address

Alexandria Zoo
3016 Masonic Drive
Alexandria, LA 71301
P: (318) 441-6810

e-Newsletter