Scientific Name: Geochelone gigantea
Colour: Black, Brown, Tan
Life Span: 80 - 255 years
Location: Aldabra atoll in the Indian Ocean
Predator: Giant Crab, Humans, Cats
Prey: Grasses, Leaves, Flowers
Other Name(s): Giant Tortoise
Size (L): 90cm - 120cm (3ft - 4ft)
Weight: 150kg - 250kg (330lbs - 550lbs)
Top Speed: 0.5kph (0.3mph)
Habitat: Grasslands and swamps
Fun Fact: One got to be 255 years old!
Aldabra Giant Tortoise Classification and Evolution
The Aldabra Giant Tortoise is a giant species of Tortoise native to the Aldabra Islands in the Indian ocean. The Aldabra giant tortoise is one of the largest species of Tortoise on the planet and is also one of the world's longest living animals, with one Aldabra Giant Tortoise individual reaching the grand old age of 255 years old. The Aldabra Giant Tortoise is the only Indian ocean giant Tortoise species alive today as others have now become extinct with the arrival of Human settlers (including the Seychelles Giant Tortoise which is now thought to be extinct in the wild). The Aldabra Giant Tortoise and the Seychelles Giant Tortoise are so similar in both appearance and behaviour that they are actually thought by some to be the same species.
Aldabra Giant Tortoise Anatomy and Appearance
The Aldabra Giant Tortoise has an enormous dome-shaped shell which acts as protective armour to the soft, vulnerable body of the Aldabra Giant Tortoise underneath. The Aldabra Giant Tortoise also has an incredibly long neck which it uses to tear leaves from the branches higher up trees. The male Aldabra Giant Tortoise grows to an average size of 1.1 meters long, with females being slightly smaller at a length of 0.9 meters. The males, although not really that much bigger, are also known to weigh nearly 100kg more than their female counterparts. They are slow-moving animals with thick, short legs and round, almost flat feet that help them when they are walking on the sand.
Aldabra Giant Tortoise Distribution and Habitat
The Aldabra Giant Tortoise is primarily found inhabiting grasslands and swamps on the islands of the Aldabra atoll (an island of coral that encircles a lagoon partially or completely), which forms part of the Seychelles island chain in the Indian Ocean. They once shared these islands with a number of other giant Tortoise species, but many of these were hunted to extinction in the 1700s and 1800s. Although the Aldabra Giant Tortoise is usually found in areas of dense, low-lying vegetation, the Aldabra Giant Tortoise is also known to wander into more sparse, rocky regions when food is in short supply. The Aldabra Giant Tortoise can also often be found resting in the shade, or in a very shallow pool of water to cool themselves down in the heat.