As the largest animal in its environment, the Aldabra tortoise performs a role similar to that of an elephant. In their search for food these tortoises may fell trees and create pathways used by other animals just as elephants do in the African savanna.
Sexual maturity in these tortoises may be determined by size, not by age.
Adwaitya, an Aldabra tortoise that made it’s home in the Kolkata zoo, is reputed to have reached the longest ever measured life-span of 255 years (birth year 1750).
Aldabra tortoises are generally solitary animals but they can be social and may gather in herds, which can be found in open grasslands. They are diurnal although they are most active in the mornings when they spend time browsing for food. They dig underground burrows or rest in swamps to keep cool during the heat of the day.They are naturally buoyant and therefore are excellent swimmers. They obtain most of their moisture from their food since fresh water is lacking in their natural environments.In the case of danger, the turtle is able to pull its body into its thick shell for protection.
Conservation Status: Vulnerable
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Here are a few fun facts:
- Aldabras are the world’s second-largest tortoise species.
- Aldabra tortoises are not as slow and ungainly as they appear; they can move quickly and are agile enough to stand on their hind legs.
- Aldabra tortoises are known to live over 100 years, with undocumented reports of animals living as much as a century longer.
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