Fun Aldabra Giant Tortoise Facts For Kids

Anusuya Mukherjee
Feb 07, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fun facts about the Aldabra giant tortoise which is the longest living animal.

Aldabra giant tortoises are one of the world's largest tortoise species. They are the longest-living animal in the world. They can live for much more than 100 years and are estimated to live until they are around 150 years of age.

It is found in the Aldabra Atoll, one of Seychelles' beautiful islands in the Indian Ocean. The Aldabra giant tortoise and the Seychelles giant tortoise are different tortoise species found on the island and many other unique animal species and populations live here.

The Aldabra tortoise is the largest animal found in the Aldabra Atoll. The Aldabra tortoises' carapace is dark gray to black and it has longer, thicker tails.

The male's carapace length is 4 ft (121 cm), and the female's carapace is around 3 ft (91 cm).

Their breeding takes place in a healthy environment and not in crowded populations. The males are often found fighting for breeding and territorial rights, whilst the females lay eggs to reproduce their young ones.

Read the facts about the Aldabra giant tortoise.

Aldabra Giant Tortoise Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Aldabra giant tortoise?

The Aldabra giant tortoises are the world's largest giant tortoise species after the Galapagos Island's giant tortoises. Their carapace is a dark gray to black color.

The Aldabra giant tortoise moves around either alone or in a herd. They are usually found in grasslands called platins. The Aldabra giant tortoise is known as one of the most social animals, but the males often fight over breeding and territorial rights.

These giant tortoises are primarily active during the morning time, predominantly searching for food. As the day gets warmer in the noon, Aldabra giant tortoises usually dig burrows for themselves or are found under the rocks or in swamps, trying to keep themselves cool.

What class of animal does an Aldabra giant tortoise belong to?

The Aldabra giant tortoise belongs to the class Reptilia and the family Testudinidae. It is the longest-living reptile species. The Aldabra giant tortoise's scientific name is Aldabrachelys gigantea. 

How many Aldabra giant tortoises are there in the world?

Around 152,000 tortoise populations are known to be living in Aldabra Atoll, one of the islands in Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. Other regions trying to breed and conserve this species include the Sainte Anne Marine National Park, La Digue, and Changuu Island.

Where does an Aldabra giant tortoise live?

Aldabra tortoises live in grasslands, coastal dunes, swamps, and wetlands. As the name goes, they are found in the Aldabra Atoll, one of Seychelles' islands. This island is home to around 307 species of plants and animals.

What is an Aldabra giant tortoise's habitat?

Aldabra tortoises are found in the Aldabra Atoll, one of Seychelles' many islands in the Indian Ocean. Its habitat comprises grasslands called platins, scrubs, and swamps.

The Aldabra tortoise also moves around to the coastal dunes, low-lying vegetation areas, and rocky habitat regions.

During the noontime, they are often found resting in swamps or under the rocks, or they sometimes even dig burrows to keep themselves cool. These animals thrive in the dry habitats of Seychelles and these giant tortoises have been known to feed on small trees and shrubs' leaves.

Who do Aldabra giant tortoises live with?

Aldabra giant tortoises (also sometimes referred to as Geochelone gigantea) can live independently or in packs. Aldabra giant tortoises are free-roaming animals.

How long does an Aldabra giant tortoise live?

The lifespan of an Aldabra giant tortoise is more than 100 years long. The oldest ones can live for up to 150 years of age. They are among the longest-living of all animals in the world.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season occurs between February and May and the females carry the eggs for ten weeks. The mating of Aldabra tortoises during the breeding season is very noisy and the males are often found running around the females.

Females lay their eggs on a nest made on dry ground. The average clutch size is 9-25 eggs and females can lay eggs twice a year.

Interestingly, a female can lay many clutches of eggs in a year in a low-density tortoise population. In a high-density tortoise population, the females' clutch size is between 4-14 eggs in a year. After two weeks the Aldabra giant tortoise babies are born, as the young ones hatch.

For Aldabra tortoise conservation, captive breeding is carried out in some wild animal conservation parks. One of the captive breeding centers is located in Mauritius.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN, they are a Vulnerable species. They are one of the few large animal species surviving on these islands. The Aldabra giant tortoise (Geochelone gigantea) is considered Vulnerable because of recent human activities including encroachment and poaching.

Aldabra Giant Tortoise Fun Facts

What do Aldabra giant tortoises look like?

Aldabra giant tortoise amazing size facts

The Aldabra giant tortoise is brown, tan, and black in color. Their average size is 4 ft (120 cm) and on average they weigh around 550 lb (250 kg). They have a hard shell covering their body known as a carapace. Its length is around 4 ft (121 cm). Males are typically larger than females.

Whenever it sees an enemy approaching, it moves its head inside its shell. The Aldabra giant species of tortoise is known for its camouflage qualities. It becomes difficult for predators to hunt them with their heads inside thanks to their protective hard shell.

How cute are they?

The Aldabra giant species of tortoise is super cute. They have short, strong legs with scales to carry their big body, and their shell color varies from brown to black in color.

They stretch out their long neck to reach for small tree leaves. The Aldabra giant tortoise's cutest feature is that they are very gentle and are entirely harmless to humans.

How do they communicate?

Like any other animal species, Aldabra giant tortoises can be dominant and defensive. During a fight, the males stretch out their necks and the one who can stretch the most is the winner. The losers are usually found leaving the battleground to hide somewhere. During mating, the males fight with each other.

How big is an Aldabra giant tortoise?

The males are often larger than the females. The male's carapace length is 4 ft (120 cm) and males have longer, thicker tails. In comparison, the female carapace length is 3 ft (91 cm). The Aldabra tortoise species is ten times bigger than the standard adult tortoise.

How fast can an Aldabra giant tortoise move?

Generally, tortoises are known for their low speed. The Aldabra tortoise species do move very slowly. They move at a speed of 0.3 mph (0.48 kph). The Aldabra giant tortoise is very slow.

How much does an Aldabra giant tortoise weigh?

The Aldabra giant tortoise size is around 330 lb-550 lb (150-250 kg). The average weight of a male is 550 lb (250 kg), and the average female weighs around 350 lb (159 kg). They are among the world's largest animals.

What are their male and female names of the species?

They are known simply as male Aldabra giant tortoise and female Aldabra giant tortoise.

What would you call a baby Aldabra giant tortoise?

Hatchling is the name of the baby Aldabra giant tortoise. They hatch after two weeks and remain in their dry hollow nest for some days after this.

Aldabra tortoises grow very slowly and they reach maturity when they are around 20 to 30 years of age. A tiny nutrient sac is attached to the young hatchling and it depends on that sac for food for at least one week before it becomes independent.

What do they eat?

They are herbivorous animals and feed on plants. They are known to move around from one place to another, depending on the food availability in each area.

Aldabra giant tortoise food comprises leaves of small trees and shrubs that are rich in nutrients. These giant Aldabra tortoises have been known to enjoy fruits like pears, apples, and tomatoes. The Aldabra giant tortoise does not chew the seeds of the fruits, instead, the seeds pass through its digestive gut and can be seen in its feces.

Are they poisonous?

No, the Aldabra giant tortoises are not poisonous. However, since they are large, they might bite you to protect themselves if you mishandle them.

Would they make a good pet?

Not for most of us, as cute and gentle as they are they would not make a suitable pet due to their giant size and specialized care requirements if kept in captivity. Only those with lots of time to dedicate to looking after them should consider an Aldabra giant tortoise as a pet.

Did you know...

These Aldabra giant tortoise facts are pretty exciting and unique:

The Aldabra giant tortoise's sleep pattern involves sleeping for around 18 out of 24 hours. Thanks to its sleepy nature, the Aldabra giant tortoise can live without food for many days. However, if they are really struggling to find food they do sometimes eat dead tortoises.

The Aldabra giant tortoise protects itself from mosquitoes by covering itself with mud.

Apart from the Aldabra Atoll habitat, these giant tortoises are found in Smithsonian's National Zoo, Bristol Zoo in England, Paignton Zoo in the United Kingdom, Atlanta Zoo in the United States, Saint Louis Zoo in the United States, Tobu Zoo in Japan, Barcelona Zoo, Oakland zoo and many more. Have you ever seen one?

Having your own Aldabra giant tortoise

Aldabra giant tortoises are known for their gentle nature. They are good learners and can identify their owners after some days. 

As they grow up, they require ample space, so you have to make sure to provide the Aldabra giant tortoise with a large space to roam around in. To maintain their health, you need to provide them with enough food. Feed them with nutrient-rich leaves and fruits. Also, your Aldabra tortoise should get regular checkups with a specialized vet.

An Aldabra giant tortoise pet costs around $20,000. If you want to buy a giant Aldabra tortoise, you can visit Aldabra giant tortoise breeders and browse online.

Why are Aldabra giant tortoises endangered?

Many giant tortoises were found in the islands of the Indian Ocean in the past. In these islands, hunting and capturing these species for the pet trade led to these giant tortoises' extinction. Over the years, conservation activists have been involved in this pet trade and constant measures are being taken to conserve these giant tortoises.

At present, 152,000 Aldabra tortoises are found at the Aldabra Atoll. Because of illegal hunting and human encroachment in their habitat, they are considered endangered and humans are banned from poaching this species.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover!

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our wood turtle coloring pages.

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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