This week’s species is the Aldabra Giant Tortoise (Geochelone gigantea).
This species can be found in the grassy plains and swamps of the island of Aldabra Atoll which is part of the Seychelles. The Aldabra Giant Tortoise is one of the largest species of tortoise with the size of 90cm to 120cm and the weight of 150kg to 250kg. This species eats a large range of vegetation like leaves, flowers and fruits. The Aldabra Giant Tortoise is also believed to have one of the longest life spans with one individual named Adwaita living for as long as 256 years (1750 to 22nd March 2006).
The Aldabra Giant Tortoise is the only Giant Tortoise species from the Indian Ocean that is still alive today, the other species became extinct due to human settlers hunting them in the 1700 and 1800’s. However, the biggest threat towards the Giant Tortoise species was due to the introduction of domestic animals, like goats to their habitat causing the species to compete for their food which they had never had to do in the past and also the hatchlings became prey to predatory animals such as domestic cats. UNESCO has made the Aldabra Atoll a world heritage site protecting the islands from human influence giving the Aldabra Giant Tortoise and other species a chance to thrive.
Here at Pafos Zoo we are home to a pair of Aldabra Giant Tortosies! So Come down and visit this amazing historical species! 🐢