Aldabra Giant Tortoises
The Aldabra giant tortoise is the second largest tortoise in existence (after the giant Galapagos tortoise). It is currently considered “vulnerable” by the IUCN catalogue.
Where to find them?
They are found in the Aldabra giant tortoise habitat of Oceanogràfic.
The presence of these animals at Oceanogràfic has a great educational value, as the three types of “tortoises” are now represented: land tortoises, Galapagos tortoises and sea turtles.
What are they like?
They can measure over 120cm, reaching weights of over 250kg.
Their skin is a dark grey colour. Their head is rounded and their neck is long to reach the leaves of shrubs and bushes, as they are a herbivorous species.
Sexual maturity depends on their size. The males are larger and heavier than the females, even reaching double their weight.
The mating season is usually between February and May. To construct nests, they use holes in the ground or dig 25cm recesses. They usually lay 10 to 30 eggs the size of tennis balls. Incubation lasts between 120 and 130 days.
What do they feed on?
At Oceanogràfic they are given food once per day, and sometimes if they finish it, a little more is added in the evening. As with other reptiles, they have a larger appetite in summer. Their diet is based on hay, foraged grass collected from unfumigated fields, leafy vegetables and carrots. Very occasionally (due to the amount of protein they contain) they are also given pepper, courgette, tomato and fruit.
Did you know...?
They can drink through their noses, thanks to a cartilaginous nasal septum which allows them to absorb water this way. It is believed that this adaptation is due to certain areas in mangrove forests being too narrow for their whole head to enter, preventing them from obtaining the water.