Aldabra tortoise walking

Aldabra Tortoise

Geochelone gigantea

CLASS Reptilia | ORDER Chelonia | FAMILY Testudinidae

RANGE Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles Islands of the Indian Ocean

HABITAT Semi-arid grasslands, scrub, mangrove swamp, and coastal dune

DIET Mainly grasses, sedges, herbs, and woody plants.

Avg. 400 lbs.
Avg. 4 ft.

Avg. 300 Lbs.
Avg. 3 ft

About 4 months

9 to 25 eggs

IUCN Status
Aldabra tortoise in water

Because they are so heavy, Aldabra tortoises are terrible swimmers, but enjoy cooling off in shallow water and mud. Their high shell allows them to release heat.

Tortoises have been known to knock over small trees and shrubs to obtain nutritious leaves. This makes pathways and clearings within the forestlands for other animals.

Aldabra tortoise

At birth, young Aldabra tortoises are only about three inches long, but they can grow to over 4 feet long and weigh more than 500 pounds.

No one knows exactly how long these animals are capable of living, but they are believed to easily surpass 100 years.

Aldabra tortoise

The Aldabra tortoise was near extinction at the turn of the 20th century. Hunting by sailors and predation upon eggs and hatchlings by introduced species such as pigs, rats, and cats wiped out the other 18 species of tortoises that inhabited Madagascar and the Seychelles Islands.

However, conservation efforts and international trade regulations have helped the population to increase, although they still remain threatened.