The Aldabran tortoise is the largest species of land tortoise in the world. They can grow to roughly 1 metre tall and may weigh in at 300 kilograms when fully grown. Their shell is grey in colour with dark grey to almost black coloured head and legs.
These giant tortoises inhabit the islands of Aldabra, situated off the east coast of Africa, in the Indian Ocean. The islands are rough and rocky with limited vegetation.
The Aldabran tortoise is herbivorous, eating grasses, shrubs, flowers and leaflitter. They will also eat cactus and lichen.
This species will reach sexual maturity at about 20-25 years of age. Mating season is between February and March. Males will let out a loud bellowing sound to entice the female to mate with him. After mating, the female buries 10-20 spherical eggs in the sand or soil where they are incubated by the heat of the sun for a two month period. When the hatchlings emerge they are only about 6 centimetres long and have soft shells. They are very prone to predation at this stage.
Of the four species of giant tortoise that once existed on the islands around Aldabra, only the Aldabran tortoise survived beyond the beginning of the 19th century. Today they are considered rare. Small populations of the tortoise have been introduced to neighboring islands to enhance the species’ chances of long-term survival. Aldabran tortoises are now protected on all the islands they inhabit.
Aldabran Tortoise Profiles
Age: 40 Years (DOB 9/10/1976)
Goliath, as the name suggests is big, but he is named for his big heart, not his big shell. Goliath without a doubt is the coolest and trendiest out of the giant tortoises at Australia Zoo. With his ochre stained scutes which are shaped like pyramids, he looks like a mobile Egyptian landscape. With a shell on your back looking like this, you could not be anything but cool. As soon as Goliath sees you enter his home and acreage, he sprints over to you as fast as those round tortoise legs will take him (not that he goes that fast... he is a tortoise after all!). When he finally reaches his destination it then becomes his priority to absorb as much of your attention as possible. He ensures that an ample amount of scratches and rubs are given to meet his goliath quota.
Weight: 170kg (374lbs)
Igloo can be identified by his large, round shell (thus giving him his name), but this is not the only way to identify him; his personality and the way he decides to do something make him the odd one out of the three Aldabran boys. When Igloo wants a drink, he does not just lap at the water; he climbs into the whole pond. When Igloo wants something to eat, he is not satisfied with a handful of vegetables; he wants the whole bucket full. So when Igloo decides he wants to do something, there simply is no stopping this determined tortoise!